Sixth-seeded Stevenson and No. 11 Rolling Meadows both took advantage of some miscues Friday afternoon in the Class 4A Carmel baseball regional.
But the Patriots were able to make the most of their opportunities in the end as they overcame a late 5-4 deficit to pull out a 6-5 victory over the Mustangs in the semifinal round.
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Stevenson (19-11) will face No. 3 host Carmel Catholic (25-9) for the regional championship at 10 a.m. Saturday, while Rolling Meadows closed out its season with a 19-11 record.
Stevenson's Willie Bourbon led off the bottom of the first with a double down the right-field line before he scored on teammate Zach Novoselsky's RBI single with two outs to stake the Patriots to an early 1-0 lead.
Bourbon got the Stevenson offense going again in the bottom of the third as he led off with a walk before moving to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Greg Voss.
Then Jimmy Marhcese reached base on an infield error before Novoselsky singled to right field to load the bases.
Mitchell Goll reached on another infield error to bring home Bourbon before Austin Black's RBI single to right field drove in Marchese with the Pats' third run.
A sacrifice fly by Tony Heiser drove in Novoselsky, and Stevenson starting pitcher Matt Allen had what looked like a fairly comfortable 4-0 lead heading into the top of the fourth inning.
But defense proved to be a real problem for the Patriots on Friday, too, as Rolling Meadows pitcher Matt Dennis reached base on a one-out error to get the Mustangs' offense started.
Mike Dolan singled to center field, but an error on the play allowed Dennis and Dolan to move up to second and third.
Mickey Wazorick followed with a walk to load the bases before a throwing error on Dan Hendricks' grounder back to the mound allowed Dennis to score the first run with the bases still loaded.
Erik Schurtz walked to force home Dolan with the second run before a 2-run, bad-hop single to left field by Zach Schultz deadlocked the score at 4-4.
In the top of the fifth, Alex Niecikowski was hit by a pitch to start the inning before he moved to second on a fielder's choice and scored on a single to center by Dennis for a 5-4 lead.
Allen was replaced by winning pitcher Jordan Sheinkop at that point as Sheinkop pitched the final 2 innings, allowing no runs on no hits with a walk.
Stevenson's game-winning rally took place in the bottom of the sixth as Heiser was hit by a pitch to get things started. An infield error on Eli Greenspon's bunt put runners on first and third before Heiser scored the tying run on pinch hitter Eric Naegele's groundout to first base.
Greenspon moved to third base on a key wild pitch before he scored what proved to be the winning run on Bourbon's sacrifice fly to center field.
"We came out with a good start and then we did have some errors, but we kept battling back and we came out with the win, that's the most important thing," said Bourbon. "I think we really came a long way since the beginning of the season and we're a much better team now."
Hendricks had a double and a run, but neither team generated much offense with the Mustangs being outhit 5-4 overall.
"I think Matt Dennis battled hard, but we couldn't overcome the errors we made," said Rolling Meadows coach Jim Lindeman. "In the end we hit a guy, we messed up a bunt play, and they capitalized. But Stevenson has a good team."
Stevenson coach Paul Mazzuca was happy to pull out the very narrow win.
"We definitely had the momentum going our way for the first three innings and we let them right back into the game with one inning of bad defense," said Mazzuca, whose team lost to the Corsairs 7-1 early in the season. "Our kids were able to grind it out, Sheinkop held them, and it was a good team win."