Sign of the times at Wauconda: 12-0
As soon as Wauconda's baseball team finished its undefeated run through the North Suburban Conference Prairie Division, Bulldogs players unfurled a splashy, colored banner, compliments of a generous parent.
Included on the banner was Wauconda's NSC Prairie record: "12-0"
Mind you, the sign was made in the morning — before the Bulldogs' 13-6 win over visiting Antioch on Tuesday.
So if Antioch had beaten Wauconda, what would have become of the banner, which would have had the Bulldogs' record incorrect?
"I don't know," Wauconda coach Bill Sliker said with a laugh. "I guess I would have put it in the basement."
Moot point now.
"We weren't planning on losing," said senior catcher Kyle Bock, who did his part, going 4-for-4 with a double and triple. "I thought (the banner) was really cool. It's something for everybody to remember our team by, and it's motivation for teams to come."
It's Wauconda's second division title in three years. The Bulldogs went 10-2 in the NSC Prairie two years ago. Running the table this season wasn't necessarily in the game plan.
"I think our division is very tough," Sliker said. "Grant went downstate last year (and finished third). We had a good summer (advancing to state). Vernon Hills had those two left-handed pitchers (Tyler Feece and Pat Crowley) coming back after winning it last year. I thought it was going to be really just a nail-biting battle between all of us.
"I take my hat off to the kids," Sliker added. "They played great, they stayed focused, and the ball bounced their way. It's pretty special. Twelve-and-0, geez, I wouldn't have expected that."
Wauconda (17-5, 12-0), which plays host Mundelein in the NSC championship game Thursday, jumped on Antioch (16-13, 7-5) with 4 runs in the third and added four-run frames again in the fourth and fifth. Ryan Gibis was 4-for-5 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI. Austin Swenson finished 3-for-4, while Jeff Lindberg went the distance on the mound.
The game ended when shortstop Gibis threw a strike to third baseman Nate Sarich, who applied the tag on Adam Harvey, who was trying to stretch a double into a triple.
The Bulldogs poured out of the dugout and celebrated on the infield.
The key to going 12-0 in the division?
"Just hard work," Bock said. "Everybody working hard every day in school. Everybody in the weight room all winter. Just dedication from everyday throughout the whole program."
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