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updated: 7/21/2011 12:57 AM

Nine fine for Palatine

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By Marty Maciaszek

Nine turned out to be the magic number for defending champion Palatine on Wednesday in the Cook County American Legion baseball tournament.

Playing nine innings now instead of seven gave the third-seeded Blue Jays (19-5) the time they needed to come back and beat No. 4 Northbrook 9-8 at Harper College.

Palatine rallied from deficits of 6-1 in the fifth and 8-7 in the bottom of the eighth. Erik Smoy tripled with one out and scored on a single by Keith Browning, who stole second and third and scored the tiebreaking run on Jack Andersen's sacrifice fly.

"The biggest thing is the kids realized it's a nine-inning game and you have to stay patient and anything can happen," said Palatine coach Jeff Ryder. "They stayed with the game and didn't give up on it."

Palatine will play its second-round game at 7 p.m. today at Rec Park in Arlington Heights against No. 6 Portage Park, which stunned top seed Elk Grove 10-0 in 7 innings at Evanston.

Elk Grove (18-13) will try to stay alive at 3 p.m. at Rec Park against No. 2 Arlington (23-9), which beat No. 5 Mount Prospect 6-3. Prospect plays Northbrook in an elimination game today.

Palatine went ahead 7-6 in the seventh on a 2-run triple to right-center with two strikes by Zach Demmon, who had struck out his first 3 at-bats. Pinch runner Jake Babcock scored on an error.

"Demmon has been struggling since he was injured earlier this year," Ryder said. "It was one of those decisions to stay with it and let him fight through it. You could see he was going to fight through this and it was a big lift for us."

Anthony Quagliano (3-2) got the win as he allowed 2 earned runs and 3 hits with 3 strikeouts and 3 walks in 4 innings of relief. Quagliano also went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, Andersen drove in 3 runs and Smoy was 3-for-4.

Arlington 6, Prospect 3: Dan Hendricks went to bat to help his brother Matt in Arlington's first-round win over Prospect (9-17-1).

Dan Hendricks had 3 hits, a double, an RBI and 2 runs scored and Matt Hendricks allowed just 2 hits and 1 walk and had 6 strikeouts in 5 innings to get the victory.

"He can swing the bat," Arlington coach Lloyd Meyer said of Dan Hendricks, who homered this weekend during a 4-1 finish in the Appleton (Wis.) tournament. "He's short and to the ball."

Andrew Van Wazer had 4 strikeouts in 4 innings to get the save and he also had a sacrifice fly. Cory Kay had an RBI double and Brad Gerdes had an RBI single.

Dan Larson had an RBI single for Prospect.

Portage Park 10, Elk Grove 0: Elk Grove didn't lose and Portage Park didn't win in Cook County regular-season play. But the two teams also hadn't played since the second week of the season.

Elk Grove coach Brian Mucha said Portage Park was truly a different team this time with seven different players in its lineup as it hit 3 homers and allowed only 3 hits.

"We got completely blindsided and I have no one to blame but myself for this one," Mucha said. "If I had known they had these guys I would have set up my pitching a little bit differently.

"I went based off the standings and scores and it's not like anyone was telling me these guys were (dangerous)."

Second Division

Justin Dragos missed the spring high school season for Barrington with a torn labrum.

But he didn't miss a chance to dramatically keep Barrington alive in an elimination game with Fulton in the Second Division tournament in Lena.

Dragos, who will be a junior and has been primarily a designated hitter this summer, came up as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and two runners on base in a tie game. He blasted a 3-run homer to give Barrington (26-13) a 9-6 comeback victory.

"That was the farthest hit ball I've seen in a long time," said Barrington coach Pat Wire of Dragos' second homer of the summer. "It was an absolute moon shot."

Barrington, which trailed 6-2 in the third, will play again at 7 p.m. today against Streator, a 20-14 loser to Lena. Elgin, which got a bye Wednesday, plays Lena at 4 p.m.

"I just reminded our guys that 9 innings is a long time, which we didn't do very well in the first game against Lena," Wire said.

Wire said Frank Waliczek "pitched outstanding ball" and allowed only 2 earned runs in 8 innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Nick Spagnola's single scored Chris Coco with the tying run.

Greg Gerrard came in to pitch and overcame a walk with an inning-ending double play. That set up a wild finish.

Ryan Lidge walked to start the ninth but Derek Foderaro lined a bunt to the third baseman. The throw to first was wild but Lidge was thrown out trying for third.

"It seems demoralizing," Wire said.

But it wasn't as Steve Schwartz singled to left and took second when the ball got away. John O'Connell was intentionally walked to set the stage for Dragos.

"We plugged away and plugged away," Wire said.