In a Class 3A baseball sectional semifinal characterized by gift runs early, there was no doubt about the legitimacy of the final two runs Clemente scored against Glenbard South.
The Wildcats' David Gonzalez and Jerimiah Figueroa each parked solo home runs during a fourth-inning three-batter sequence to give Clemente, a traditional Public League power, the lead for good.
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The defining element to the conclusion of the Raiders' season was hard-throwing senior southpaw Joseph Marciano.
Glenbard South stranded 11 batters during its 6-5 loss Friday in LaGrange Park at the Nazareth sectional, which was completed a day late due to inclement weather.
Glenbard South, the third seed, had its season come to a close at 20-11 as Marciano retired the Raiders in order in the seventh to preserve the victory.
It was the only inning Glenbard South did not have a baserunner. The Raiders left the bases packed in both the first and fifth innings.
"When (my teammates) hit the home runs, I could relax," said Marciano, who pitched the final four innings to earn the win.
"The long balls in the middle of the game were probably the difference," Glenbard South coach Mike Riley. "But I'm not sure. We stranded a lot of runners. We didn't get off to a very good start."
Clemente (21-8) scored four times through the first three innings on a lone single.
The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead as walks, a hit batsman and two errors took an early toll on the Raiders.
But Glenbard South was equally opportunistic in its half of the second.
Alex McGimpsey and Ethan Gasbarro each had RBI doubles as Glenbard South took its only lead, 3-2, when the latter scored on a Will Cornwell groundout.
"I was going to look for a fastball," Gasbarro said. "I got one. I was able to drive it into the left-center gap."
But Glenbard South immediately lost its lead in the ensuing half-inning; Steven Glochowsky had the first of what would prove to be only 4 hits for Clemente.
But the single capped another 2-run inning for Clemente.
Glenbard South tied the game for the second time in its ensuing at-bat on a two-out Clemente throwing error.
The Wildcats' solo shots in the top of the fourth gave Clemente a 6-4 lead. Glenbard South attempted to respond with small ball.
The team had only two of its five final hits reach the outfield, but Nick Yangas' dash for home off a McGimpsey hit-and-run grounder reduced its deficit to 6-5.
Marciano later stranded the bases loaded; he left two more in scoring position in the sixth before a flawless seventh ended the game.
"I was thinking to keep command of the (strike) zone low," Marciano said.
"We gave it our all," said Gasbarro, one of eight Glenbard South seniors. "When you have guys in scoring position, you have to come through. Unfortunately, (Clemente) got the best of us. That's baseball."