As the score bounced back and forth between Wheaton Warrenville South and Glenbard East, everyone knew the baseball game would come down to one shutdown inning.
WW South finally got it in the bottom of the seventh.
After scoring a pair of go-ahead runs in the top of the frame, the Tigers claimed a 7-5 victory over their DuPage Valley Conference rivals with a 1-2-3 finish. WW South advances to the IHSBCA Glenbard South regional final to play Montini at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Glen Ellyn.
"Every time they hit the ball we just responded by hitting back," said Tigers designated hitter Rich O'Neil, who doubled twice and drove in 3 runs. "It feels good to come back and beat them in the summer, and we'll see if we can beat them next spring."
Glenbard East swept WW South in three DVC games in the spring, but the Tigers snared this win to move on to face Montini, which advanced with a 9-2 win over Suburban Christian Conference rival Aurora Central Catholic.
In summer league action elsewhere, Lake Park advanced with a 3-1 win over Huntley. The Lancers face Jacobs on Thursday for the Lake Park regional title.
WW South took a 6-5 lead in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by Eric Giltz but the Rams tied it in the bottom of the sixth behind two errors and a run-scoring fielder's choice from Danny Ryan, who gave Glenbard East a 4-2 lead with a 2-run single in the bottom of the second.
The Tigers went ahead to stay in the seventh on Jesse Padlik's RBI double. Baylor Holmes singled home an insurance run with two outs to make it a 7-5 game.
After rallying to tie twice and taking the brief 4-2 lead, Glenbard East just couldn't answer a third time.
"I wish we would have answered with two there, but they just played better than us," said Glenbard East coach Joel Pelland. "When it came down to it they hit the ball well, they turned two double plays. It's just the way it goes."
O'Neil's 2-run double opened the game for the Tigers, although Glenbard East tied it right up in the bottom of the first after a run-scoring fielder's choice and a bases-loaded walk to Yoanny Gonzalez. The Rams took their only lead of 4-2 before WW South tied it on consecutive RBI hits by O'Neil and Padlik in the third.
"I was anxious to see what happened when they went up 4-2," said Tigers coach Tim Brylka. "I was real pleased with how these guys kept fighting and didn't back down at all. That was good to see."