Not very often does it come full circle for coaches like it did for Barrington baseball coach Pat Wire Wednesday afternoon.
When rains forced the Class 4A Jacobs regional semifinal between No. 1 seed Cary-Grove and No. 4 Barrington to Cary-Grove's field, it set up an unprecedented scenario for the 1996 Cary-Grove graduate to beat his alma mater on a field he did pretty well on himself at one time.
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"He played outstanding on this field. I'm glad he's coaching and not playing. I mean, I wish he was playing for us," Trojans coach Don Sutherland said. "Pat had some great games here. He pitched for us, played short, played center, those are all the spots where you put your best players so he's won a lot of games here."
Now Wire can say he's won a game at Cary-Grove as a coach.
The Broncos (22-11) jumped out to a 4-run lead after two innings, only to watch it disappear and regain it with 2 runs in the fifth in a 6-5 upset of Cary-Grove, doing things Wire has preached to his team all season, something he learned from Sutherland: manufacture runs and play small ball. And the Broncos kept battling this time, something they did not do in the Mid-Suburban League championship game last Friday, a loss to Rolling Meadows.
"Groundballs, manufacturing, little baseball, that's what we've preached to our guys to be able to do and that was the difference. No different from what (Sutherland) runs and that's what we try to emulate, it's the same thing," Wire said. "I'm emotional, my whole life, I've grown up to be with (Sutherland). They're my family and I grew up down the road, I was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and baseball) which is a dying breed. It's just hard, but it's amazing. And the reason why I'm ultimately here is because I ended up coming over here to play Legion baseball. That's why I'm where I'm at today. It's special."
Barrington will play in the regional championship on Saturday at 10 a.m. in Algonquin, awaiting today's winner between No. 2 Crystal Lake South vs. No. 3 Jacobs in another semifinal slated for 4:30 p.m.
And it's not surprising for Sutherland to see Wire in this position as a first-year coach of the Broncos.
"He'd be a great coach, I knew that when he was a sophomore," Sutherland said. "Funny you have a feeling with those things, but anyway I'm not surprised how well he's doing."
Barrington capitalized on 2 Cary-Grove errors to begin the second and Jake Coon's RBI single in that frame accounted for the first run. But it was two-straight RBI groundouts by Dylan Balogh and Joey Sciaccotta that gave Barrington a 3-0 lead. Late in the inning, a single from Mitch Pfeiffer (2-for-4) made it a 4-run cushion.
The Trojans (19-12) rallied for a run in the bottom half of the inning and 3 more in the third on an RBI single by pitcher Brandon McCumber and a 2-run double from Dean Lee (2-for- 4) with the bases loaded.
Lee's ball actually went through the bottom of the fence, which cost the Trojans a run as it forced a ground-rule double, which recalled a runner to third. Cary-Grove got that run back in the fourth to take a 5-4 lead on an RBI single by Zach Marszal, who was 4-for-4 with a double.
A leadoff walk by Sciaccotta in the fifth came back to hurt the Trojans, because after a bunt single by Pfeiffer that put runners on first and second, a wild pitch during Anthony Lombardi's at-bat moved the runners to second and third. Lombardi then grounded out 4-3 to tie the game at 5. Ryan Lidge did the same in the next at-bat, but on a 6-3 putout, and Barrington was back out in front for good, 6-5.
"I told myself, 'I'm going to get this guy in,' I'm going to do it for the team, Lidge said. "I saw that changeup low and hit to the right side, which is what we've been preaching and it got him in. I'll take that win any day."
That in turn helped Wyatt Trautwein get back the lead and the win. Trautwein went 5 innings and gave up 5 earned runs on 10 hits with 5 strikeouts. Fifty of his 82 pitches went for strikes and Scott Nelson got the save, stranding Marszal in the seventh when the Trojans put together a late threat.
"In a big game like this we just made too many mistakes," Marszal said. "We kept on battling back but in the end we just didn't have enough to fully come back from that."
McCumber gave up 6 hits on 4 earned runs in 7 innings pitched on 102 pitches. The Trojans outhit the Broncos 11-6, getting a runner on base in every inning.