Hampshire's second comeback came up a run short.
Crystal Lake South scored 4 times in the top of the seventh to take a 7-3 lead, then watched the host Whip-Purs almost tie it up again. But starter Tyler Hall retired RJ Consigny with a runner on base to end the game and the Gators held on for a 7-6 win in Fox Valley Conference crossover baseball action Thursday at Hampshire.
Max Meitzler drove in 4 runs, including the game-winner for South (3-0).
Piotr Banas, Brandon Bowen, and Brandon Wescher had 2 hits apiece for Hampshire (1-1).
Troy Bittenbender started the Gators' winning rally by beating out a dribbler up the third-base line. One out later, Jake Bigos hit one deep in the hole and beat it out. Meitzler followed with a drive just inside the first-base line that rolled all the way to the right field corner. Casey Oliver drove him in with a triple. The Gators added a final run on a balk call.
That proved to be huge, because Hampshire came right back in the bottom half. After Wescher and Colin Gogoel singled, Bowen drove them both in with a drive to the gap in left center. Banas knocked in Gogoel with a single to make it 7-6.
"We've got to learn to overcome that," said Hampshire coach John Sarna. "We just made too many mental mistakes and we've got to figure that out."
Hall retired the first 10 Hampshire batters as the Gators took a 3-0 lead through three innings. But Hampshire battled back, scoring 2 in the third on a double by Tyler Crater and Wescher's single. The Whips tied it in the fourth on Banas' RBI double.
"Our guy was kind of cruising," said South coach Brian Bogda. "Through the first four he had 45 pitches, then he ended up with about 95 pitches."
Meitzler gave South the lead with a 2-run single in the third. Bigos finished with 3 hits and made some fine running catches in center field. Ninth hitter Will Fogel also had 2 hits for the Gators.
The Whip-Purs also flashed some leather, turning 3 double plays. The third was the most spectacular, with second baseman Dillon Kuhn leaping to spear Michael Danca's liner, then doubling Garrett Bright, who had no chance, off of first base.
Hampshire starter Crater allowed 6 hits and 3 runs in 6 innings, walking 4 and striking out 1.