Thu May 24, 2012
By Sean Duncan
ELMHURST, IL – Schaumburg’s offense was pretty much non-existent through the first five innings against regional host York. That is, before senior third baseman Matt Brancato ripped a two-run home run, which ultimately propelled the Saxons to a 4-3 victory in a Class 4A regional semifinal Thursday.
Schaumburg (22-13), which had mustered only one hit against York junior right-hander Louis Alcaraz through five innings, scored three runs in the sixth to take a 3-1 advantage. Brancato, a strong-bodied 6-foot-1, 210-pound unsigned senior, finally got the Saxons on the board with his fourth home run on a 2-1 curveball to left field.
“Lately our team has been on fire, so I knew we’d come through eventually,” said Brancato. “Once or twice through the lineup I knew we’d dial in against him.”
York (22-14), fresh off winning the tough West Suburban Silver title, rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning behind three hits. Seth Dvorak’s run-scoring single cut it to 3-2 and River Pitlock’s sacrifice fly tied the game at 3-3 heading into the seventh.
The Saxons won the game in the seventh when Jeremy Hall and Joe Petritis delivered consecutive one-out singles, putting runners on first and third. Senior outfielder Kedric Daly then dropped down a suicide squeeze bunt for the game-winner.
Schaumburg advances to play St. Charles North in the regional championship at York on Saturday.
Schaumburg junior lefty Max Paolicchi pitched well in his 5.1 innings. He struck out eight, walked none and yielded nine hits before giving way to senior righty Pat Bellinger, who wriggled out of a sixth-inning jam before closing the door in the seventh.
York was led by Pitlock, who went 2-for-2 with two RBI and was hit by a pitch. Pitlock’s RBI single in the fifth staked the Dukes to a 1-0 advantage, and his sacrifice fly in the sixth tied the game at 3-3. Dvorak went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI for York.