Three years ago Westmont's baseball program set goals for winning conference and regional titles.
The Sentinels need to come up with some new goals.
With Saturday's 7-4 victory over IC Catholic Prep in the Class 2A Timothy Christian regional final in Elmhurst, top-seeded Westmont claimed its first regional title since 2007.
The Sentinels (23-7), who last week clinched a second straight Interstate Eight Conference title, move on to Wednesday's Benedictine University sectional semifinals to face Guerin, a 12-2 winner over Chicago Academy.
"In three short years these guys have accomplished so much," said third-year Westmont coach D.J. Cocks. "I'm so proud of them, the way they've battled all year long. It's great to see the results of all the hard work."
Third-seeded IC Catholic Prep (17-19) came in with high hopes after a regional semifinal win over defending 2A champion Lisle, but the Knights quickly fell behind when Westmont struck for a run in the bottom of the first and exploded for 5 runs in the second inning.
Two errors opened the door for the 6 unearned runs. Michigan-bound junior shortstop Charlie Donovan keyed the second-inning outburst with a 2-run double. Anthony Alessi, Joe Donovan and Zach Moran also drove in runs.
Jack Copher, who pitched three-plus innings of strong relief, helped minimize the damage for the Knights.
"You get in that big hole early, it's tough to get out of it," said IC Catholic Prep coach Zach Rodeghero. "Jack did a great job coming in to pitch like he did, and we kept battling. These kids never give up, and that's a testament to them and the job they did all year."
John Kelly's fourth-inning RBI single boosted the lead to 7-0 before IC Catholic Prep made things interesting in the top of the fifth. Taking advantage of three Westmont errors, the Knights broke through with 4 two-out runs thanks to run-scoring hits by Austin Reed and Sean Sutton, who took the loss on the mound.
The Knights, however, stranded runners on second and third after Moran came on in relief of Westmont starting pitcher Austin Loehman. Moran allowed only one baserunner in the sixth and seventh inning, sending IC Catholic Prep down in order in the seventh to end the game.
"It was huge to get that lead because we knew they weren't going to die and they were going to keep fighting," Charlie Donovan said. "We kind of got the momentum on our side with those early runs. We dealt with the adversity well and didn't let the momentum get away from us."
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