Glenbard South's baseball team was down to its last inning, last out, last hope.
That's when the Raiders finally came to life. At last.
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Glenbard South rallied with 4 seventh-inning two-out runs, and then scored the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth on Justin Joseph's sacrifice fly as the Raiders claimed a stunning 6-5 victory over Latin in the Class 3A Glenbard South regional final Saturday in Glen Ellyn.
"When we hit the ball we're almost unbeatable because of our pitching and defense," said Raiders senior Ethan Gasbarro. "So we've just got to keep hitting like that. Being down 4 runs, we knew this would have been our last game and we needed to step it up."
Gasbarro, who surrendered 3 runs in 6 innings on the mound, led off the bottom of the seventh with an infield single, but then the next two Glenbard South batters were retired by Latin starter Aidan Cozzi. The freshman lefty appeared poised to give the Romans their fourth straight regional title when the Raiders began their rally.
Joseph walked and Zach Smith laced an RBI double. Nick Yangas followed with a 2-run double to make it 5-4, and then a balk tied the game at 5-5. After Glenbard South reliever Mike Atkinson retired Latin in the top of the eighth, the Raiders loaded the bases with no outs to set up Joseph's game-winning sacrifice fly to left field that drove in Gasbarro.
Six of Glenbard South's 10 hits came in the seventh and eighth inning.
"We stranded so many runners, and give their kid some credit," said Glenbard South coach Mike Riley. "We've won 20 games, but we've struggled to get the big hit all year. That's one thing about this group, they never give up."
Glenbard South trailed 1-0 after half an inning but tied it in the second on Alex McGimpsey's RBI single. Gasbarro retired 11 straight and 15 of 16 at one point before Latin struck twice in the sixth. Sam Agler's RBI single and a Raiders error put the Romans ahead 3-1.
The Raiders stranded 11 runners in the first seven innings including eight runners in the first three innings. When Latin tacked on a pair of unearned insurance runs in the top of the seventh to move ahead 5-1, the missed opportunities looked like they'd come back to haunt Glenbard South.
Then came the shocking two-out rally in the bottom of the inning.
"We haven't done anything that extreme in a while," Riley said. "We've had some comebacks, but to get that many big hits all in a row, it was a great time to do it."
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