Not even a bitter defeat could sour the sweet feelings Grant senior Jake Trumpis has for McHenry's Petersen Park.
Trumpis certainly pitched well enough to win Wednesday night's Class 4A baseball regional semifinal duel with McHenry's Andrew Reisinger before a big crowd. The right-hander allowed only 4 singles and had 6 strikeouts and no walks as he threw just 73 pitches in 6 innings.
But three perfectly placed singles in the top of the fourth inning and some stellar defense by No. 4 McHenry (23-14) sent Trumpis and top-seeded Grant (17-12) to a tough 1-0 defeat.
"I have a history here with this ballpark since the seventh grade," Trumpis said of the site where he helped Grant win its first sectional title en route to last season's third-place state finish. "I felt I gave nothing but my best here, every year and every time on this field with my friends and teammates and everything on the line, and pitched with my full potential.
"Playing Lake Villa in-house, we had postseason all-star teams and they had the McHenry tournament here in seventh and eighth grade. There are memories here of playing games until 1 a.m. It's a good ballpark to end on."
Reisinger (4-3) threw a 5-hitter for his second consecutive shutout as McHenry will be back at Petersen for Saturday's 4:30 p.m. regional final against the winner of today's 7 p.m. semifinal between No. 2 Prairie Ridge (24-11) and No. 3 Grayslake North (20-8).
The Warriors got their only run when lefty-hitting catcher Cody Freund (2-for-3) blooped a single into short left and alertly reached second on Jordan Witbeck's one-out bloop single to short left-center. Sophomore Jack Glosson (2-for-3) then rolled a single down the left-field line to score Freund.
Trumpis retired the final eight hitters he faced before Simeon Lucas came in to pitch the seventh.
"(Jake) has been good at times and he's thrown a lot on short rest," said Grant coach Dave Behm. "He did a great job and his last three outings have been really, really good. He was great tonight."
So was Reisinger as he came off a shutout of powerful Huntley. He overcame 3 hit batters, 2 walks and 2 first-inning errors by getting 3 double plays turned by Witbeck at second -- two started by third baseman Kyle Snedeker and the other by shortstop Payton Lykins.
The last two double plays came after line singles by Jordan Villareal (2-for-4) and Lucas (2-for-2) in the third and fifth innings.
"That was one of the best pitching performances I've seen all year," said McHenry center fielder Adam Mattson.
"We had something to owe them since they beat us on our home field last year," Reisinger said.
Mattson provided the most dramatic defensive highlight with his long run and backhanded catch with a full-out dive at the warning track in left-center on Tyler Gorski's one-out drive in the sixth.
"That was unbelievable, but I had so much confidence that he was going to run it down," Reisinger said.
"I thought I had a chance and that's why I was trying to run so fast," Mattson said. "I didn't have such a good performance offensively (3 strikeouts), but I wasn't going to let my teammates down on defense. When I was within 10 feet I said, 'I have to dive to get this one.'"
Grant had one last shot when Will Zitkus walked with one out in the seventh. But Reisinger completed his 100-pitch performance with a pair of strikeouts and this time McHenry was the team celebrating at Petersen Park.
"You always have hope no matter what happens," said Trumpis, who is going to pitch at Benedictine University. "Even if we didn't come out and win this one we gave it everything we've got.
"Tonight was also a great memory. My last game with the kids I've grown up with and have been my best friends and family the last four years. Even though we lost, nothing beats the experience of playing with my guys."