Tanner Kiser received a mini-celebratory dousing of small cups of water over his head from a couple of Lake Zurich baseball teammates late Monday afternoon.
Maybe they wanted to make sure the left-handed hitting first baseman didn't cool off too much. Not after the only thing that may have prevented him from hitting for the cycle was not getting a fourth at-bat in the Class 4A Lake Zurich regional quarterfinal against Prospect.
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Kiser homered, tripled and doubled and drove in 5 runs and cleanup man Anthony Drago went 3-for-4 with a homer and 4 RBI as the 14th-seeded Bears (15-16) stayed hot and extended their winning streak to 5 games as they rolled 13-0 in 5 innings.
"We started out a little rough but at the end we've come on strong," said Kiser, who missed the first three weeks with an elbow injury. "We fed off the energy from our fans and we've been playing well the last couple of weeks. We're seeing the ball well and we played well as a team today."
No. 9 hitter Danny Neises went 3-for-3 with an RBI and Joey Holtz (2-for-3) , Dominic DeMicco and Kiser just missed homers with doubles off the top of the fence. Lefty Austin Foote (4-4) settled down after a shaky start to allow only 2 hits in 4 innings as the Bears advanced to host fourth-seed and Central Suburban North champion Glenbrook North (22-8) in Wednesday's 4:30 p.m. regional semifinal.
"We've finally got everybody back," LZ coach Gary Simon said of overcoming injuries, suspensions and an early 10-game losing streak. "I said a long time ago, we're going to go into the playoffs playing hot."
The Bears stayed that way with a 7-run first to knock out lefty Welby Malczewski (2-8) of No. 20 Prospect (7-19). A walk to Mike Shastany, a Joe Pizzolato single and an error on Nick Jones' sacrifice set up Drago's 2-run single inside the first base bag and Kiser's 3-run homer to right-center.
"Give them credit, they absolutely pounded the ball," said Prospect coach Ross Giusti.
"Everyone is seeing the ball well right now and we're feeding off each other," the lefty-hitting Drago said. "When one guy hits well, another guy is hitting bombs."
James DeGeorge, Holtz and Neises also singled and Shastany had a sacrifice fly in the first. Kiser's groundball in the second had enough on it to roll all the way to the fence in right-center for his triple and Drago unloaded a 2-run bomb to right in the third that needed no help from the 20-mph wind blowing out toward center.
"One through nine we're hitting very well," Kiser said. "Everyone on our team can produce."
Foote pitched around two walks in the first and an infield single off his leg by Kevin Joyce and 2 walks loaded the bases in the second. But after a visit from pitching coach Larry Lewis and the LZ athletic trainer, Foote ended the threat with a pair of called strikeouts.
Foote finished with 6 strikeouts and the only other hit was Patrick Hipple's bloop single to lead off the fourth. Derek Kornfeind threw a perfect fifth with a strikeout.
"This is the way we expected to be all year," Simon said. "We've been playing pretty good defense lately. Now we're starting to get the pitching and our hitting has always been pretty decent."
Junior Jordan Fedro threw 2 innings of 1-hit relief with 4 strikeouts for Prospect, which battled through a lot of growing pains with a young team.
"Certainly record-wise, we can honestly say we had a rough season, but I've been very proud of the way the kids came out every single day and continued to try," Giusti said. "They just never gave up."