The day began with St. Charles East graduate and current Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Matt Reynolds throwing out the ceremonial first pitch from a mound he last stood upon in 2003.
It ended with the Saints celebrating their first sectional baseball championship since 2004 after Saturday's come-from-behind 5-3 victory over Wheaton North (27-9) in St. Charles.
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In between, there were enough tense situations, bizarre moments and clutch plays to fill a chapter book.
The game could not have started much worse for the Saints and southpaw starting pitcher Nick Huskisson (7-1), as the third-seeded Falcons grabbed a 3-0 lead after their first 5 batters stepped to the plate.
Ryan Kent led off with a double down the left-field line, and Jacob Taschetta beat out a bunt single to put runners on the corners. John Peltz followed with an RBI infield single and Tom Colletti's bloop hit to center drove in Taschetta for a 2-0 lead.
By the time Peltz came across with the third run of the inning on a double play groundball, the Saints (25-11) were knee-deep in a huge hole.
"Down 3-0 after that, it felt like eight in this venue," said Saints coach Len Asquini.
However, it didn't take the Saints long to get back in the game.
Huskisson led off the second with a double, and Brian Sobieski's RBI double got the Saints on the board and more importantly started to ease some of the tension.
"It's always nice to get a quick one right after they score three," said Sobieski. "At that point, we were just trying to scratch some (runs) across any way possible."
Back-to-back walks to Brannon Barry and Isaac Nimick loaded the bases for Jack Dellostritto.
A wild pickoff attempt at second base allowed Sobieski to score the second run of the inning. Anthony Sciarrino then tied the game when his high chopper in back of the mound gave Nimick an opportunity to score from third.
"That was the turning point of the game," Sobieski said of his team's 3-run second.
"We were just looking for one (run) with an opportunity to maybe score two and all of a sudden we put up a three-spot," said Asquini. "We bounced back great so it was like a 0-0 ballgame."
In the fifth, the Saints added 2 more runs in unconventional fashion.
Sciarrino led off with a single and advanced to second on Nicholas Erickson's sacrifice bunt. After Sean Dunne walked to put runners on first and second, Joe Hoscheit slapped a grounder to the left side of the Falcons' infield.
The ball bounced past third baseman Greg Scandora and caromed off the foot of Saints' baserunner Sciarrino. Peltz retrieved the ball at short and tried to beat the hard-charging Sciarrino at the plate but the throw skipped past catcher Tom Cassier, allowing the Saints to take their first lead of the game.
"It did hit the runner but the umpire felt like the third baseman had a chance to make a play there," said Falcons coach Dan Schoessling. "It's a judgment call."
"What I saw was Anthony behind him (the third baseman)," said Asquini. "He had an opportunity to field that ball so it hits our guy, it hits our guy. By rule, they made the right call."
When Huskisson walked 2 of the first 3 batters he faced in the bottom of the fifth, Troy Dykhuis was called upon from the bullpen.
After a 2-out single by Colletti loaded the bases, Dykhuis worked out of the jam by inducing Lake Bachar to hit an inning-ending groundout.
"That was a big situation," admitted Dykhuis. "I definitely had some adrenaline going."
Dykhuis retired the last 7 batters he faced, as he recorded the save and helped send the Saints to Monday's supersectional against Jacobs at Rockford Aviators Stadium.
"Troy was outstanding," said Asquini. "It was big to have him just shut the door there. And Husk (Huskisson) did exactly what he needed to do after that first inning."
Bachar (8-1) pitched a complete game but didn't record a single strikeout for the Falcons, who committed 5 errors.
"Luke definitely pitched well enough to win -- we just didn't do enough behind him to get that win," said Schoessling. "It's kind of uncharacteristic from what we've been doing, especially defensively, and we didn't play good enough to beat a great team."