To say that the Geneva baseball team was ready for the playoffs to start would be an understatement.
Starting pitcher Jordan Touro struck out the side in the top of the first to start the Class 4A regional semifinal against Glenbard West. The Geneva bats put up six runs in the bottom of the second inning and the Vikings never looked back as they pulled away to a 12-2 victory in 5 innings.
Geneva (20-15) will play St. Charles East at 10 a.m. Saturday at Geneva for the regional championship. The Saints took two of the three meetings during the Upstate Eight Conference schedule including a seventh-inning rally to win the one meeting at Geneva.
Vikings sophomore catcher Nate Montgomery started the damage in the second inning with a solo home run to left center. Jake Weede then walked, Luke Polishak beat out an infield single and then Nick Derr lined a single up the middle that scored Weede.
Jack Wessel tripled to the right field corner scoring Polishak and Derr to make it 4-0. Bobby Hess was hit by a pitch, stole second base and Ben Chally doubled in Wessel and Hess to make it 6-0.
In the inning, the Vikings sent 10 batters to the plate and hit for a team cycle.
"We kind of sprayed the ball all over the place," said Geneva coach Matt Hahn. "We've been doing that all year, being able to jump on teams early. Especially in a playoff game it kind of deflates them a little bit because now you have a little shorter leash on your pitcher or guys start pressing knowing that their season is on the line so I like the fact we were able to put pressure on them early."
"We got on them early," said Montgomery. "We worked all week on how we were going to hit against him and we all heated up at the right time and that is what you have to do to advance in the playoffs."
Touro (5-4) continued to get plenty of strikeouts, 7 in four innings of work, but he put himself into some trouble with control problems as he also walked 6 Hilltoppers. Touro walked the based loaded in the top of the second inning but escaped with no damage inducing a 2-out ground out to first base.
Glenbard West (13-19) got on the board in the third inning when they again loaded the bases and Touro walked Will Simoneit to force in Luke Domask, who had also walked. Another run came across when Tyler Dayton brought home Spencer Refer to cut the lead to 6-2, but Touro was able to work out of it again when he got a popout to Chally at third base.
Touro settled down after that and only gave up one more hit as the Vikings continued to extend their lead.
"Our pitcher wasn't really sharp but enough to keep them down and our bats were doing their job," said Hahn. "When you get to these playoff games, that is why you rely on your seniors, that's one of the reasons we went with Jordan this game because this is the third playoff game he has pitched in so you know he's not going to get rattled with guys on base, he's not going to try and overthrow and try and strike everyone out. He stepped up to get us to the next game and to give us a shot tomorrow."
The Vikings added a run in the third inning when Derr drove in his second run of the game with a 2-out single to left field scoring Jason Croci. They also scored in the fourth inning when Montgomery singled in Hess who had led off the inning with a single.
Chally and Hess added RBI singles in the fifth inning and the final run scored when pinch runner Brandon Evert scored on a wild pitch to make it 12-2.
"We had some opportunities and you have to take advantage of those, especially against a good team," said Glenbard West coach Brian Wojtun. "But today we weren't able to and I give Geneva all the credit in the world, they did a nice job and they made the pitches when they needed to and we couldn't take advantage of our opportunities."