With 30 wins and huge expectations, Downers Grove South's baseball team still takes nothing for granted.
That's why the Mustangs spent a little extra time savoring Saturday's regional championship.
They beat Waubonsie Valley 4-1 in the Class 4A Hinsdale Central regional final, advancing to Wednesday's Neuqua Valley sectional semifinals to face Downers Grove North, a 6-5 winner over Metea Valley.
Downers South (30-6) anticipated being in this spot as the sectional's top seed, but too many times in the past the Mustangs failed to live up to the program's perpetually lofty goals. A regional plaque may just be a first step, but it's an extremely important step.
"It's tough to do," said Mustangs coach Darren Orel. "It's so competitive around here, it's such a tough regional, such a tough sectional. We've won 30 games, but all the credit for this goes to our players. I'm just so proud of them."
The Mustangs put the ball in the trusted right hand of Minnesota-bound Brian Glowicki, who improved to 6-2 on the season by scattering 8 hits in a complete-game effort. Glowicki took a shutout into the seventh inning.
Eighth-seeded Waubonsie Valley (19-15) tried to rally when Jake Bennema singled home Luke Marzano with two outs in the seventh. C.J. Lee, who went 3-for-4, joined Bennema on base with an infield hit.
With the tying run at the plate, Glowicki snared a popout to seal the regional title for the Mustangs.
"They got to 30 wins for a reason, they make the plays," said Waubonsie Valley coach Dan Fezzuoglio. "They didn't give us any opportunities. We had one opportunity early, and we couldn't capitalize. We just couldn't string the big hit."
In the bottom of the second, Javier Martinez put Downers South on the board against Warriors starter Tyler Hasper, who hit a walk-off 2-run homer in Friday's semifinals, with a sacrifice fly. Back-to-back run-scoring hits by Alex Galik and Martinez put the Mustangs ahead 3-0 in the fourth inning.
A sixth-inning wild pitch boosted the advantage to 4-0. Matt Zinnecker, Galik and Martinez -- Downers South's fifth, sixth and seventh hitters -- went a combined 5-for-8 with 3 doubles, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI.
"Day in and day out working hard, it's great to come out here and get the win," Martinez said. "We're just anxious to get back out here next week and keep it going."
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