Schaumburg appeared to be a strike away from the end of its summer baseball season Thursday in the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Phil Lawler Summer Classic.
Second-seed Huntley got the strike it wanted but the problem was it didn't get the final out it needed in the top of the seventh inning in the Lake Park regional semifinal. Jordan Grubb reached on a wild pitch and that sparked a stunning 3-run rally as the third-seeded Saxons tied the game.
Jack Holden completed the miraculous comeback in the top of the eighth with a one-out RBI single to give the Saxons (16-5) a 12-11 victory.
"We somehow pulled this one out," said Schaumburg coach Paul Groot. "This was unreal. I haven't seen a game like this in years."
Schaumburg advanced to today's 2 p.m. regional championship at Lake Park against No. 8 St. Viator (13-9). The winner advances to the Elite Eight next week.
Schaumburg had no one on base in the seventh when Grubb, the No. 9 hitter who was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, struck out on a 1-2 pitch that went back to the screen. Thomas Byrne lined a single off the first baseman's glove and Justin Charvat (2-for-4, 2 RBI) lined a single to right.
Matt Brancato followed with a towering fly ball to right-center that appeared to be the final out. But some miscommunication between the outfielders allowed the ball to drop for a tying double.
Nick Eodice led off the eighth with a walk and took second on a wild pitch. After a groundout, Holden re-entered the game after starting it on the mound and drove in Eodice with a single to center.
Brancato finished 3 innings of relief by striking out the side to end up with 5 strikeouts. Bronson Wittkamp played a pivotal role in Schaumburg's comeback with 3 shutout innings of 1-hit relief with 4 strikeouts and 5 walks after Huntley took a 9-4 lead with a 6-run second.
"He was the saving grace for us," Groot said. "They couldn't touch him. He really throws hard and he kept us in the game."
Fremd was able to beat the worst of the heat Thursday but was unable to get the best of Maine South in a 10-6 loss in the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Phil Lawler Summer Classic.
The top-seeded Vikings had their Palatine regional semifinal suspended in the first inning Wednesday because of District 211's policy prohibiting outdoor athletic competition if the heat index reaches 100 degrees. So they resumed play at 8 a.m. to try and avoid a similar issue Thursday.
No. 4 Maine South broke a 2-2 tie and held off a late rally to advance to today's 9 a.m. regional championship at Palatine against No. 2 Niles West, which beat No. 6 Notre Dame 23-5 in 5 innings Wednesday.
"We couldn't stop the bleeding," said Fremd coach Chris Piggott. "We hit the ball OK but they pitched better than we did."
Fremd (16-4) got within 8-6 in the sixth inning on a 3-run homer with two outs by Keith Giagnorio. Zach Kolakowski was 2-for-4 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI and a stolen base and Danny Haduch singled and reached base on a hit by pitch and a walk.
Fremd will be trying to win a fourth straight Mid-Suburban West title next spring.
"It was a good summer," Piggott said. "I'm happy with how we played and improved. We have some pretty good depth and I saw a lot of good things."