Waubonsie Valley's Hasper sends fastball flying
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Tyler Hasper just wanted to see a fastball.
He took care of the rest.
The Waubonsie Valley junior got the pitch he wanted and launched a 2-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Warriors a 2-0 victory over the host Red Devils in Friday's Class 4A Hinsdale Central regional semifinals.
The eighth-seeded Warriors (19-14) advance to Saturday's regional final to face No. 1 Downers Grove South (29-6). Waubonsie Valley seeks its first regional title since reaching the state quarterfinals in 2005.
Locked in a scoreless tie, Hasper came to the plate with one out and Drew Ellam on first base after he singled. On a 1-and-2 count, Hasper blasted a shot over the center-field fence and into the trees to send the Warriors into a massive celebration.
In a pressure-packed situation, Hasper had one thought on his mind.
"Give me a fastball," the center fielder said. "It felt good off the bat. Playing in the outfield it kept carrying so I just felt mine would carry as well."
Warriors starting pitcher Troy Fumagalli, who was strong in 7 innings before being relieved by Julian Langford for the eighth, and Hinsdale Central counterpart Bobby Skogsbergh dueled throughout several tough spots. Both, however, kept emerging unscathed until Skogsbergh surrendered the game's lone runs.
The Red Devils (17-14) struggled to mount any offense early but then endured many missed opportunities late. They had runners on second and third with no outs in the fifth, runners on second and third with one out in the sixth, and runners on second and third with two outs in the eighth.
The sixth inning proved especially frustrating for Hinsdale Central, which had a runner picked off third base before Fumagalli ended the threat with a strikeout.
"We had opportunities," said Hinsdale Central coach Tom Dorrance. "We were snakebit all season long. I don't know if it was snakebit or just not clutch. We just weren't clutch all season long. We just couldn't do it today."
The Warriors suffered through their own foiled chance in the bottom of the sixth when they loaded the bases, only to hit into an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play.
Two innings later, Hasper put an end to the missed chances in a big way.
"This team was in the moment today, and very resilient," said Warriors coach Dan Fezzuoglio. "We had to execute, and for the most part we did."
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