Call it a thriller in favor of Libertyville
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Funny, good and good-natured, Libertyville's new student PA announcer had a nickname for every Wildcat batter Friday.
The rookie even had a couple of monikers for Antioch third baseman Nick Muskat, who got some "Muskrat" love during one at-bat and had a "Musket" fired at him another time he stepped into the box.
The nickname for Libertyville first baseman Kevin Calamari?
Sure, "The Squid."
"I've heard them all," Calamari said. " 'Fried Cal.' I get 'Squid' a lot. All the Italian jokes. The Italians love it."
On a rainy day best suited for those who thrive in water, who better to be a hero for Libertyville than "The Squid?"
Calamari doubled twice off hard-throwing Antioch ace David Meade, and Calamari's leadoff walk led to the winning run in the bottom of the eighth, as Libertyville rallied late to edge visiting Antioch 3-2 in a North Suburban Conference crossover.
Noah "Youngberg" Greenberg's walk-off walk off reliever Josh Saldivar plated pinch runner Dereck Ioos, hiking Libertyville's record to 8-1 and dropping Antioch's to 2-3.
"We played great out there," said Meade, who got a no-decision. "It was a tough loss."
"I think we can play with anybody," said Antioch coach Paul Petty, whose Sequoits beat Warren with a walk-off walk, defeated Grayslake Central and lost to Grayslake North by a run. "We're in these games, and this was only our fifth one."
Libertyville had other heroes besides Calamari. Sophomore shortstop Jimmy "Bam Bam" Govern continued his strong start to the season with a game-tying RBI groundout in the sixth and bunt single that loaded the bases in the eighth.
"He's a scrapper," Schurr said. "You'd call him a gym rat in basketball. He's just a baseball gamer. The kid gets after it."
"I love baseball more than anything," Govern said with wide eyes and a wider smile.
Before the Wildcats broke through for the tying run in the sixth, Meade was the story, dominating with a heavy fastball that was even harder to pick up on an overcast day.
The Antioch right-hander struck out nine in 7 innings. After Calamari's RBI double scored Justin "The Jet" Guarnaccio in the first, Meade didn't allow another hit until Calamari doubled with one out in the sixth, starting the home team's comeback. The lefty-swinging Calamari hit his first double inside the third-base bag and shot his second one down the left-field line.
"He was throwing hard," Calamari said of Meade. "It was a tough day to hit. I thought our team battled real well. He's a good pitcher. He was throwing a lot of strikes and had a good curveball. You can't pull that kind of pitcher in this cold. I was just looking the other way."
Meade brushed off the conditions, which had him consistently stepping off the mound to shake the mud off his cleats.
"The mud getting on my cleats just made it inconsistent with weight on my foot," Meade said. "I just tried to get through it. It didn't really bother me. I couldn't make any excuses because the other pitcher (Libertyville starter Mike Rogers) had to deal with it too."
"David looked good," Petty said. "I was proud of him that he made the adjustment with the mud. He went from a stretch. That was something that he took upon himself."
Meade beat Libertyville last year at Antioch.
"Our kids felt like they owed him something back today," Schurr said. "We really didn't get him back."
With Saldivar on in relief to start the bottom of the eighth, after Libertyville reliever Andrew Mack threw his third straight scoreless inning, Calamari coaxed a walk.
"It was getting pretty dark out," Calamari said. "They brought a new kid in, and I was just looking for that one pitch. Any way on."
P.J. "The Sorcerer" Newmann got hit by a pitch as he squared to bunt, putting runners on first and second. After a strikeout, Schurr noticed the third baseman not playing in, so he had Govern bunt for a hit.
Saldivar grabbed Govern's well-placed bunt but slipped on the wet grass, and everybody was safe. Saldivar got a called-third strike on a 3-2 offering for the second out, before walking Greenberg to force in the winning run.
"It's just fun being up here," Govern said. "On the bunt, Coach gave me the sign and I actually thought it was going to be for a sac bunt. I put it down the line, and I guess the guy slipped. Good things happen."
Antioch got 2 hits apiece from Muskat (2-run single) and Jerry LaSaint and a double from Zach Andre.
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