With a short Cook County Legion tournament and the games now at 9 innings, Elk Grove coach Kevin Miller knows that he as to conserve his arms if the top-seeded Red Sox hope to advance to next week's state tournament.
Miller got some early help from his offense and then used four pitchers as Elk Grove blanked Mt. Prospect 10-0 in just 7 innings at Rec Park in Arlington Heights in a shortened game.
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Elk Grove (27-5) will meet the winner of Arlington-Elmwood Park in the winner's bracket final at noon Saturday.
"We hadn't played in a week and wanted to get our guys some work," Miller said. "The offense made it easy to get a lot of pitchers out there today.
"I wanted all of our guys to get used to the mound. With the possibility of playing three games over two days, we needed this."
Michael Woods, Max Paolicchi, Alex Tinkoff and Danny Guido combined to limit Mt. Prospect to just three baserunners on 2 hits and walk.
"It was a nice quick inning," said Woods, who pitched just the first inning and retired the three batters he faced. "I felt a little twinge in my elbow, so it made it even easier to come out after we scored all those runs."
Elk Grove erupted for 5 runs in the bottom of the first. The Red Sox parlayed 4 walks with a pair of hits, including a 2-run triple from Cosimo Canella. That sent Miller to the bullpen for Paolicchi.
"I was really surprised to come in today," said Paolicchi, who pitched 3 innings and was credited with the victory. "I hadn't thrown in about three weeks and it felt real good out there."
Paolicchi gave way to Tinkoff in the fifth with the Red Sox leading 7-0. Elk Grove's Thomas Byrne had a sacrifice fly to score Kraemer Brandt, who had singled and Jordan Grubb had a RBI single to score Patrick O'Malley, who also had single earlier.
"I came in thinking I had an outside shot of pitching in relief," said Tinkoff, who threw 2 innings and allowed 1 hit. "It was nice to have a big lead when I came in. It felt good because our defense is always behind us."
Elk Grove was able to put the game away in the next two innings, scoring 3 more runs. Colin Bethran and Byrne each had RBI doubles.
Guido, who has been the ace of the staff this year, came on in the seventh and allowed just 1 hit.
"It was good to clean up at the end," said Guido, who also allowed just 1 hit. "We were able to clear the bench and get everyone in there at the end."
Miller likes the way his team has played so far this season.
"This team really enjoys competition," Miller said. "They compete whether they are playing a great team or a lesser team. They like to take care of business."
Mt. Prospect (16-16), which got hits from Rich Carusiello and Eric Labahn, next plays at 7:05 p.m. Friday against Northbrook in the loser's bracket.
"The first inning really did us in," Mt. Prospect coach Tom Krumsee said. "I don't blame them the way they used their pitching. This tournament, the more you save pitching the better you set yourself up for the weekend."
• In the 2nd Division tournament in Wheaton, Barrington dropped a 6-2 decision Thursday against Wheaton to drop into loser's bracket play at 7 p.m. today against Lake Zurich. The winner of that contest advances to a noon Saturday game against Wheaton.