With Barrington's Wyatt Trautwein and Rolling Meadows' Matt Dennis on the mound for their teams Friday in the Mid-Suburban League's baseball championship game, many in the overflow crowd at the Nelson Sports Complex in Rolling Meadows expected a pitchers' duel.
They were wrong.
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What they got was a 17-run, 22-hit slugfest, with Rolling Meadows coming out on top 11-6.
"All games don't turn into the pitchers' duels like they are supposed to be," Rolling Meadows coach Jim Lindeman said. "The pitchers worked hard today. But they got the balls up and the hitters took advantage of it."
Rolling Meadows (18-9-1), which last won the MSL crown in 2009, secured its second title under Lindeman.
"We got off to a tough start today," Lindeman said. "But I though offensively, our approach at the plate was really good."
Barrington (20-11) looked to make a winner out of rookie coach Pat Wire in his first trip to the MSL title game. The Broncos tallied twice in both the first and third innings to build a 4-0 advantage.
Mitch Pfeiffer single and Dylan Lidge walked to begin the game for Barrington. Ryan Lidge's hard single to right dove in 1 run and Scott Nelson drove in the other on a groundout.
In the third, Pfeiffer walked and Dylan Lidge singled to start the inning. Ryan Lidge the drove in a run a fielder's choice and Jake Coon had a RBI single and the Broncos looked like they were on their way.
"We got off to a good start," Wire said. "But tip your hat to them. They hit the ball today."
Rolling Meadows battled back for a pair in their half of the third.
After a walk and hit batter, Dennis doubled in John Burkiewicz. Then after two out, Mickey Wazorick lined a single to center, scoring Dan Hendrickson, but Broncos centerfielder Nelson threw a perfect strike to Ryan Lidge to cut down Dennis.
Instead of faltering after that play, the Mustangs came back even stronger. They rocked Barrington for 7 runs in the next inning, sending 12 batters to the plate.
Dan Hendricks, who had 3 hits and 3 RBI, started the inning off with a single. Erik Schurtz followed with a RBI double and Zach Schultz and Burkiewicz then each had RBI singles. After a sacrifice fly by Alex Niecikowski, three Mustangs walked and another run scored, bringing Hendricks back to the plate.
"I love coming in pressure situations," said Hendricks, who has had 3 walk-off hits this year. "It just makes me focus more. I went up there confident and I knew I could hit him."
Hendricks delivered again, dropping a ball just down the left-field line to clear the bases as the Mustangs extended their lead to 9-5.
Dennis then helped himself by putting the game out of reach in the fifth inning. Dennis, who was 2-for-3 with 4 RBI, belted a 2-run homer to left to increase the lead to 11-4.
Barrington was able to push over a pair of runs against Dennis, who went all 7 innings. The Rolling Meadows ace, who improved to 8-0 on the year, struck out eight.
"I don't care how many pitches I threw," said Dennis, who finished with 116 of them. "Just so we got the win.
"I got off to a slow start and kind of got ahead of myself in my own head. But I settled down and I felt stronger as the game went on."
"That was the most gusty performance he has had all year," Lindeman said.
Pfeiffer and Nelson each had 2 hits for Barrington, while Wazorick also had 2 hits for Rolling Meadows.
"I love my kids," said Wire, whose team will host a regional play-in game on Monday. "They fought, and that is what they are going to do."