All through the postseason Neuqua Valley's baseball team rallied to stay alive.
The comeback 'Cats couldn't do it again on Friday.
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Mt. Carmel put in an impressive effort all over the diamond while rolling to an 8-0 victory over Neuqua Valley in the Class 4A semifinals at Silver Cross Field in Joliet.
With the loss the Wildcats (30-10) will play St. Charles East in the third-place game at 3 p.m. Saturday. Mt. Carmel (33-8) faces Libertyville (28-11) in the title game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
"We weren't getting on top of the ball," said Wildcats senior shortstop Matt Wollnik, who had one of his team's 5 hits. "We were just popping everything up and we just couldn't get that big hit to get it on the ground and hit it hard."
It wasn't going to happen against Mt. Carmel left-hander Marko Boricich (8-1), who struck out five and walked two in an 85-pitch complete game. Three of Neuqua Valley's hits came in the bottom of the sixth with the Caravan already ahead 7-0.
Neuqua Valley starting pitcher Cody Coll (7-4) was strong through three innings, retiring seven straight leading up to the top of the fourth. That's when Mt. Carmel broke through for 4 runs on RBI singles by Jason Gasser and Tom Hayes. An error allowed 2 more runs to score.
Eight of Mt. Carmel's 12 hits came in the fourth and fifth innings. The Caravan added 3 runs in the fifth on consecutive RBI hits by Gasser, Beau Filkins and Hayes.
"We got a chance to see (Coll) and see what he's got," Gasser said. "Everyone started picking up his fastball and his changeup and his curveball. He's a really good pitcher, but I thought we just had more heart and we just wanted it more."
Neuqua Valley's fate began to be sealed with the game still scoreless in the bottom of the third. Wollnik singled, stole second and moved to third on a Josh Piotrowski sacrifice. The Wildcats, however, couldn't get him home with one out.
Neuqua Valley loaded the bases in the sixth inning, but Boricich escaped with an inning-ending forceout.
"I thought that if we would have scored that (third) inning, it might have changed the game," said Neuqua Valley coach Robin Renner. "But who knows? We certainly would have played with a little more energy. You never know, but you can go, 'What if?'"
Mt. Carmel added its eighth run in the seventh inning. Eight players had hits for the Caravan, four drove in runs and five scored runs.
"It's probably one of the better lineups I've pitched against this season," Coll said. "One through nine they're always attacking that first pitch. I was just leaving it too close and they were getting a swing on it. They were just finding holes, and that's just baseball."
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