Persistent Stevenson edges Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich had Stevenson beat. James DeGeorge's throw from left field had Jon Savarise beat at home.
Stevenson refused to get beat, however.
Reserve senior outfielder Anthony D'Angelo played hero for Stevenson late, driving in a sliding Savarise from second base with a base hit into left field with two out in the bottom of the seventh, lifting the Patriots to a come-from-behind, 6-5 win in the second thriller in as many days between the two North Suburban Lake Division teams.
"It was a good taste to end with, that's for sure," a smiling D'Angelo said.
Lake Zurich had the walk-off win a day earlier, prevailing 2-1 over the visiting Patriots.
"It was a tough week with these guys," Lake Zurich's hard-hitting catcher Anthony Drago said. "They are real competitors. They always stick around. It's crazy."
It was a crazy finish and a particularly satisfying one for Stevenson (17-9, 6-4), which trailed 5-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth against Purdue-bound Mike Lutz, who had allowed only 1 earned run and had struck out eight.
Savarise (2-for-3) and Steve Galanopoulos led off the Patriots' sixth with singles, and a walk to Jack Karras ended Lutz's day. Reliever Austin Foote got the first batter he faced, but pinch-hitter D'Angelo drew a bases-loaded walk and Tony Heiser's fielder's-choice RBI got the hosts within 5-4. Max Golembo (2-for-3) then walked to reload the bases.
Foote got promising freshman Will Bourbon, who had doubled his last time up, to hit a groundball, but it was booted for an error, tying the score.
After Stevenson sophomore lefty Mitch Goll pitched a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, striking out one, Savarise led off the bottom of the inning with a walk. Lake Zurich coach Gary Simon called on reliable Jake Guilianelli, who got a fly out before walking Karras. After a strikeout, D'Angelo stepped to the plate again.
"With two outs, I was just looking to get something in play, something to drive," said D'Angelo, a 6-foot-3 left-handed hitter. "The first pitch happened to be right there. I saw it and just went with it."
D'Angelo hit a Guilianelli fastball between third and short.
I noticed he was throwing a lot of fastballs early in the count, so that's what I was looking for," D'Angelo said.
Stevenson coach Paul Mazzuca never hesitated in sending Savarise home.
"I was forcing the defense to make the throw," Mazzuca said.
DeGeorge's throw arrived home well before Savarise, but the senior slid headfirst and was called safe, as Drago tagged him.
"I just beat it," said Savarise, a Division-I prospect who's been a great addition for Stevenson after playing varsity baseball as a sophomore and junior for Loyola. "My fingertips slid across the plate."
"I thought we had him beat," Drago said. "The ball was a little up the line, but I got the tag down. I thought I got him right on the left hand. It is what it is."
Lake Zurich (17-10, 6-4) wasted a great offensive performance by the strongly built Drago, who smoked a pair of doubles, with the second scoring 2 runs and putting Lake Zurich up 5-1 in the third. He singled sharply in the fifth to finish 3-for-3.
"Drago was unbelievable," Bears coach Gary Simon said. "He finally broke out."
"I was seeing it pretty well today," Drago said. "It looked like a beach ball. It felt pretty good."
Stevenson had scored its earlier runs on Zach Novoselsky's bad-hop run-scoring single in the first and Bill Sullivan's RBI groundout in the fourth.
"We didn't give up. Thank God," said Savarise, who suffered the tough-luck loss Tuesday. "We had that problem in the beginning of the season, and now we're fighting back."
Jordan Sheinkop threw 3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Matt Allen for Stevenson. For Goll, it was his first varsity win.
Lake Zurich also used three pitchers.
"All three of the pitchers did what they're supposed to do," Simon said. "We just didn't get any stinking help."
Mazzuca did not play standout shortstop Adam Walton, explaining the senior let his emotions get the best of him and displayed "conduct unbecoming a Patriot" in Tuesday's game.
"He felt bad. I called him (Tuesday) night," Mazzuca said. "I almost pinch-ran him (in the seventh Wednesday), because he's our fastest guy, too."
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