First Addison Trail limited the damage, then it created some damage.
The Blazers took advantage of a slew of Batavia errors to eliminate the Bulldogs from the Class 4A Wheaton North regional semifinals Thursday with an 8-5 victory.
Batavia (19-17) opened the game with a run by leadoff hitter Laren Eustace in the top of the first inning, but the Bulldogs left the bases loaded when Blazers starting pitcher Greg Schultz bounced back with two strikeouts to end the threat.
Then the Blazers (23-13) scored their first five batters of the game, with Schultz knocking in a pair of runs with a single to center and Anthony Kalbas driving in two more with a triple to the right-field corner.
"They came out very aggressive, swung the bats very well and jumped on us 1-0," Blazers coach Steve Gilliam said. "Then our boys came back and got five. Then we just faltered. I was a little disappointed in that, but the playoffs are just about survival."
The lead went to 8-1 in the second inning, with Batavia errors a big culprit.
"The whole day was uncharacteristic," Batavia coach Matt Holm said. "We're .500, and I recognize that, but with (senior Austin) Higgins on the mound, he got hit hard, had some hard groundballs that we couldn't do anything with. We made 5 errors in the first two innings. I don't know how many unearned runs, but obviously if you start doing that then you start pressing. We talk about guys not kicking in quicksand, and we start kicking in quicksand.
"They can hit, no doubt about it. Their 3 and 4 hitters (Mike Imperiale and Schultz), they're the real deal. They're good hitters. You can't give anymore opportunities than we gave. We always talk about getting 21 outs and I think we gave 26 or 27. That's not a winning formula."
Batavia settled down from there, holding the Blazers in check the rest of the way, a fact that disappointed Gilliam.
"Probably a little bit of loss of focus," Gilliam said. "With an 8-1 lead there's a little bit of a tendency to lose your focus, and our job as a coach is to bring them back. That can probably fall on my shoulders. I sort of let it slip away."
Batavia came back with a run in the fifth inning, two more in the sixth and one in the seventh, but Kalbas, pitching in relief, overcame a pair of Blazers errors to get the final out, stranding two baserunners.
Naperville Central 9, Oswego 4:
Pitcher Ian Lewandowski struck out 11 in a complete-game effort for Naperville Central at the Class 4A Downers Grove South regional semifinals. Blake Butler went 3-or-3 with 3 RBI and a run scored, and Brian Schiemann drove in 2 runs. The Redhawks will meet Downers South at 10 a.m. Saturday for the regional championship.
Glenbard East 4, Glenbard North 2:
The Panthers took a 2-0 lead in the second inning, but the Rams came back with a run in the top of the fifth and three more in the sixth to win the Class 4A St. Charles East regional semifinal. Pitcher Pat Walsh went 3-for-4 and drove in 2 runs. He also earned the victory. Glenbard East will meet St. Charles East at 11 a.m. Saturday in the final.
Benet 6, Downers Grove North 4:
Benet scored 3 runs in the top of the fifth inning to take the lead and held off Downers Grove North to win the Class 4A Plainfield North regional semifinal. The Redwings meet Plainfield North at 10 a.m. Saturday for the regional title.
Fenton 19, Chicago North Grand 0:
Ricky Villagas earned the five-inning victory for Fenton (18-16) in the Class 3A St. Joseph regional semifinal. A nine-run second inning was the key for the Bison, who had 15 hits. Fenton will take on St. Joseph at noon Saturday in the regional final.