A year ago IC Catholic Prep's baseball team fell to Lisle in the regional semifinals, only to watch the Lions go on to win the Class 2A championship.
With the same path in mind, the Knights avenged that loss on Thursday.
IC Catholic Prep held on for a heart-stopping 2-1 victory over Lisle in the Class 2A Timothy Christian regional semifinals, setting up a title game matchup against top-seeded Westmont at noon Saturday in Elmhurst.
The Knights (17-18) and senior ace Clark Brinkman took a 2-0 lead to the bottom of the seventh when Lisle (18-13) staged a rally.
George Swedie singled home an unearned run to make it 2-1, and the Lions eventually loaded the bases with two outs. With the season on the line, Brinkman coaxed a flyout to end the game and send IC Catholic Prep to the regional final.
"I'd been pitching well the whole game and I was confident in myself," Brinkman said. "I mean, I'm not going to lie. I was a little scared there at the end, but I kept within myself and knew what I could do. It was a great feeling afterward."
Brinkman gave his team a 1-0 lead in the game's first at bat by doubling and scoring on a two-base error. He maintained the 1-0 lead by stranding three Lisle runners in scoring position and relying on a defense led by center fielder Ryan Russ, who came up big with a diving catch in the bottom of the sixth.
IC Catholic Prep added another unearned run off Swedie in the fifth inning to make it 2-0, setting the stage for the dramatic finish in the seventh. First, though, Swedie and the Lions had to escape their own bases-loaded jam in the top of the inning.
"You always want one more game, especially after a game like this," said Lisle coach Pete Meyer. "We had an opportunity there, but that's why baseball's tough. That's the funny thing about high school baseball. You just never know. You could go real far or you get knocked out in the first game."
Brinkman pitched a 3-hitter with 8 strikeouts, 2 walks and 2 hit batters. Swedie allowed 4 hits while striking out six, walking five and hitting a batter.
"The way this game was played, it had the feel of a sectional championship," said Knights coach Zach Rodeghero. "Now we've got to face another tough Westmont team, but who knows? Maybe we can make a run."
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