Neuqua Valley (30-9) vs. Mt. Carmel (31-8)
When: 3 p.m. Friday
Where: Silver Cross Field in Joliet
How they got here: Neuqua Valley beat Romeoville 4-0, Yorkville 4-2, Plainfield North 4-3, Downers Grove North 12-4 and Moline 5-2. Mt. Carmel beat Kelly 11-1, Reavis 11-1, Lyons Twp. 5-3, St. Rita 5-4 and Lockport 2-1.
Coaches: Neuqua Valley coach Robin Renner holds a career record of 374-180 in 15 years. Mt. Carmel's Brian Hurry is 409-136 in 14 years.
Tournament history: Neuqua Valley is making its third trip to the state semifinals. After winning the Class AA title in 2007, the Wildcats finished third in Class 4A in 2008. Mt. Carmel was state runner-up in Class AA in 2005 and finished fourth in Class 4A in 2011.
Top hitters: Unlike past seasons, Neuqua Valley does not have the .400 hitters with power numbers. Instead, they've taken turns carrying the team from one to nine. Leadoff hitter Jeff Evak leads the team in many categories, including a .372 batting average and 18 extra-base hits with 4 homers. Three hitter Dylan Goss, who also has 4 homers, has been clutch in the postseason. Keep an eye near the bottom of the order with players like Matt Butler and Josh Piotrowski. Mt. Carmel cleanup hitter Jason Gasser has a .414 batting average with a team-high 30 RBI and 14 extra-base hits. Beau Filkins, who holds a team-high .442 average, adds pop near the bottom of the order.
Key pitchers: Cody Coll, with a 7-3 record and 1.30 ERA, gets the ball for Neuqua Valley. The beauty of this staff is its depth. David Gerber, who has 7 wins, will be ready in relief while Danny Mokrzycki (6-0) likely will be held for Saturday's start. Jonathan Vlk, Tuesday's supersectional winner, also is available. Mt. Carmel's rotated Marko Boricich and Jeremy Kravetz, winners of a combined 15 games. With Kravetz throwing 112 pitches on Monday, this may be Boricich's game.
Advancement: Winner plays the winner of Libertyville (27-11) vs. St. Charles East (27-11) at 5:30 p.m. Saturday for the Class 4A title. The loser plays for third place at 3 p.m. Saturday.
-- Kevin Schmit