The worst-case scenario for top-seeded Elk Grove on Thursday was elimination from the Cook County American Legion baseball tournament.
But the situation looks much better for the Red Sox after left-hander Paul Warble beat No. 2 Arlington 10-2 at Rec Park. Because of the bracket setup if they win their next two games they'll go to the state tournament in Galesburg.
"The guys really stepped up today," said Elk Grove coach Brian Mucha. "It could have been real easy for us to lay down after (Wednesday's) debacle (a 10-0 loss in 7 innings to sixth-seed Portage Park).
"They came out fired up and obviously it was nice having Paul on the mound."
Elk Grove (19-13) plays at 3 p.m. today at Rec Park in the double-elimination tourney against No. 3 Palatine (20-5) after the defending champs topped Portage Park 10-6.
Arlington (23-10) will play at 7 p.m. at Rec Park against the winner of the 11 a.m. elimination game between Portage Park and No. 4 Northbrook, which beat No. 5 Mount Prospect 11-1 in 7 innings.
Warble allowed only 1 run in 8 innings and had 9 strikeouts and 1 walk in his second straight strong outing.
"He got out of a lot of jams and his slider was nasty today," Mucha said.
"He was in control and everything was on the knees," said Arlington coach Lloyd Meyer. "He's a good pitcher. He's tough."
Nick Fillmore was 2-for-2 with 3 walks, 2 RBI and 2 runs and Julian Sipiora, Thomas Byrne and Joe Belmonte had 2 hits apiece for Elk Grove. Dave Geller had an RBI double and Roger Lane and Nick Hilliard drove in runs.
"They make plays and they've got a nice club," Meyer said.
Arlington got an RBI double from Tommy Ricciardi in the sixth and an RBI single by Jimmy Pinakidis in the ninth.
"We can play with teams," Meyer said. "I'm still optimistic."
Palatine 10, Portage Park 6: Jack Andersen went 5-for-5 to lead a 17-hit attack and Zack Demmon and Trent Rehusch combined to hold Portage Park to 3 runs through the first 8 innings.
"They threw strikes and we got some timely hitting," said Palatine coach Jeff Ryder. "The kids played a good game and we played pretty good fundamental ball for the most part."
Anthony Quagliano went 3-for-5 with an RBI and Erik Smoy went 3-for-5. Keith Browning was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, Joe Pelnar went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Rehusch drove in 2 runs.
Palatine was clinging to a 4-3 lead when it scored 4 runs in the seventh and two in the eighth.
Northbrook 11, Prospect 1: Prospect trailed only 2-1 into the fourth inning but saw its season end at 9-18-1 as Northbrook pulled away to the win in 7 innings.
"We competed against every other team in the league except Northbrook," said Prospect coach Tom Krumsee. "No matter what we do they hit us. It's strange."
Prospect leadoff man Dan Larson went 3-for-4 and just missed a perfect night when a shot off the pitcher's leg caromed to the third baseman and he threw to first for the out.
"Our whole season seems to have gone that way," Krumsee said of a young team where most of the roster is eligible to return. "Overall I'm proud of the kids. They fought and they battled."
Barrington (27-13) has a tall order which assistant coach Chris Holke equated to climbing Mount Everest.
But Barrington is still climbing in the Second Division tournament in Lena after it beat Streator 16-6 in 7 innings in an elimination game.
Barrington will play at 2 p.m. today against Lena (22-4), which lost 13-3 to Elgin. If Barrington wins it would play Elgin at approximately 5 p.m. and would try to force a second game for the title on Saturday.
"The good news is we'll be able to utilize our No. 1s," Barrington coach Pat Wire said of having Chris Rogers and Greg Gerrard ready to pitch today. "We know we have to climb some odds. But these guys have been through a rough road and they can deal with adversity."
Barrington trailed 3-1 but got its bats going as Nick Spagnola (3-for-5), Macray Poidomani (2-for-5) and Derek Foderaro (2-for-4, 3 RBI) drove in 3 runs apiece. Ryan Lidge was 2-for-5 with a homer and 2 RBI and Steve Schwartz went 3-for-4.
Wyatt Trautwein allowed 4 earned runs in 5 innings to get the victory. Spagnola also made a play at third base where he ranged into foul territory for a grounder behind the bag and got the out at first base.
"It was Brooks Robinson-esque … one of the better plays I've seen," Wire said. "It was a big play because it kept the 10-run rule intact. That was vital for us so we could save some pitching if we're going to have a shot at it."