With every game won by Montini's baseball team, the bull's-eye gets a little bigger.
And the ice water flows more fluidly through the players' veins.
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The Broncos pulled out another close one Monday in Lombard, holding on for a 2-1 Suburban Christian Blue win over St. Francis.
It was Montini's fifth 1-run victory of the season and a situation familiar to junior reliever Eric Frontzak. Usually a starter for the Broncos (11-1, 8-0), Frontzak put out one fire after another once he came into the game for starter Ben Dobosenski with one out in the top of the fifth.
By the end of the game, Frontzak allowed a run to come home but, more importantly, he stranded four in earning a much-deserved save.
"We had a few mess ups but we came out on top," Frontzak said. "We're trying to get ready for playoffs, so games like this help. We want everyone's best game, and we want to beat the best with our best."
St. Francis sophomore starter Jason Sullivan was tough as well, holding Montini's potent offense to a 2-0 lead through five innings. Tom Long's second-inning fielder's choice scored Tyler Tumpane with the game's first run, and the Broncos added an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth when Pat Hennessy scored on an error.
From then on it was just a series of nail-biting opportunities for both sides.
"We've had a number of ballgames that have been tight like that," said Montini coach Bob Landi. "We expect that from St. Francis and the other teams in the conference. We didn't play a perfect game, but we played a good game and stayed in it and did what we needed to do."
Frontzak came in with runners on first and second and one out in the top of the fifth. Josh Croci ripped a line drive up the middle, but Montini second baseman Jake Pestel snared it and tossed the ball to shortstop Eddie Bava for the inning-ending double play.
Chris Smith's infield single for the Spartans (6-8, 4-3) drove in Tim Zettinger in the top of the sixth. With a runner on third and two outs, Bava fielded a tough grounder and nailed the runner at first on a bang-bang play that saved the tying run from scoring.
After Montini stranded the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, St. Francis put runners on first and second with one out in the seventh. A strikeout looking and a flyout preserved the win for Montini.
"We were a couple hits away," said St. Francis coach Rich Janor. "We need to do a better job with two-out clutch hitting. We hit the ball hard right at some guys, but definitely we need to do a better job breaking through."
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