Being a three-sport athlete, Mikey Maize knows all about pressure.
And the Elk Grove senior showed how to overcome it, belting a 2-run homer in the top of the seventh inning to lift the Grenadiers past host Rolling Meadows 2-1 on Monday in a key Mid-Suburban East game.
"I have been in situations like this before," said Maize, who also played football and wrestled at Elk Grove. "I have just got used to it after a while. I just wanted to put the ball in play."
Maize's opportunity came in the top of the seventh with no outs. Johnny Assimakopoulos led off the inning by reaching on an error.
Maize then took advantage of Mickey Wazorick's only mistake of the game.
"It was a fastball right down the middle," said Maize, who had 2 hits. "As soon as I hit it, I knew it was gone."
"I just left the pitch up a bit," Wazorick said. "I thought I threw a good game. I just made one mistake."
Elk Grove (15-4, 5-1) moves into a tie for first with Rolling Meadows (8-7-1, 6-1) in the Mid-Suburban East.The two meet again on Wednesday at Elk Grove.
"It did not look like our day offensively," Elk Grove coach Terry Beyna said. "We just had to stay after it.
"It was great win for us. To fall two back . . . and we know that they have a tough pitcher over there that we will see on Wednesday."
Rolling Meadows, which committed 9 errors in a loss to Lake Zurich on Saturday, was able to manufacture its lone run in the bottom of the second. Mike Dolan got hit by a pitch and moved to second on a fielder's choice. He then scored on Dan Hendricks' RBI single.
From there, Elk Grove pitcher David Camacho (4-0) and Wazorick (2-2) got into an old-fashioned pitchers duel.
Camacho was able to pitch out of two jams to keep the Mustangs corralled.
In the fourth, Rolling Meadows loaded the bases with one out. Camacho ended that threat when he got a short fly to left and a strikeout to end the inning without any damage.
Then, in the seventh with one out, the Mustangs' Zach Schultz doubled to left. He moved to third on a groundout but was stranded when Camacho induced an easy fly to center to end the game.
"I had my location down," Camacho said. "All I had to do was throw strikes. I was a little worried until the end. But I knew my teammates had my back and would score some runs for me."
Wazorick fanned five and scattered 5 hits prior to the seventh. He also got some help from Dolan, who threw out two runners attempting to steal.
"I thought it was the best he threw all year," Rolling Meadows coach Jim Lindeman said. "But our defense let us down again today. We just can't give teams extra outs."
"Give credit to both pitchers," Beyna said. "They were really battling out there."