There was no holding back Mundelein in the Class 4A baseball playoffs at Palatine on Wednesday.
With their ace on the mound in Adam Turner and a huge home run from Ryan Hollander, Mundelein was able to get out of the first round with a 3-1 victory over Fremd.
"There were lots of sleepless nights after last year's game," said Mundelein coach Todd Parola, whose team was stunned in the opening round by Buffalo Grove last year. "We had a great season last year and it left a bitter taste for us. But we are able to move on after today."
Mundelein (33-2) advances to the regional final, where the Mustangs meet the will meet the winner of Thursday's game between Palatine and Warren on Saturday.
Turner, who scattered 3 hits, said he and his teammates have been anticipating the playoffs for a long time.
"We have been looking forward to this game for a year," Turner said. "All winter long we have been talking, 'We aren't going to lose this first game.'
"It was so fun out there today. I love pitching in this type of game, the whole atmosphere -- win or go home. That is what baseball is all about."
Turner was able to outduel Fremd ace Mack Rosman, who was held back from pitching in Monday play-in game, as the Vikings defeated Buffalo Grove. Rosman allowed just 2 hits, but was undone by his team's defense.
"I felt good today," said Rosman, who struck out seven. "My stuff was working, but things just happen."
In a pitcher's duel it usually comes down to defense, and Mundelein easily won that battle. The Mustangs turned a pair of double plays and were nearly perfect defensively while Fremd committed 5 errors, which led to two of Mundelein's runs.
"We struggled to pick up the ball," Fremd coach Chris Piggott said. "They got 2 unearned runs and that was the difference in the game."
Fremd (16-16) scored the game's first run in the third inning thanks to an error by Mundelein.
Matt Gura led off the inning with a sharp single to left, for 1 of his 2 hits for the game. He moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dylan Fisher.
Marcus Middlebrook, who grounded to Tuner on the first pitch off the game, drilled the ball off of Turner this time. Turner spun and finally located the ball, but his throw was down the first-base line, and Middlebrook knocked the ball from the glove of Ryan Hollander. With the ball on the ground, Gura was able to race home.
Mundelein came back to tie the game in the fourth thanks to 3 Fremd errors and a successful execution of the walk-off play.
With two outs, Logan Reckert reached on an error and then stole second. He then advanced to third when Luke Adams reached on an error.
With two strikes on Luke Peterson, Adams began to head to second. Fremd walked him back to first base, but then threw poorly as Adams made it safely back to the base while Reckert scored.
Mundelein took the lead for good in the next inning when Hollander blasted a homer to left. It was his first home run of the season and it could not have come at better time for the Mustangs.
"There is no better feeling," Hollander said. "I used to be a power hitter, but have struggled hitting home runs. Even with the wind, I knew when I hit it, it was going out."
Mundelein added an insurance run in the sixth. Reckert singled and went to second on a fielders's choice. With two out and two strikes, he stole third and scored on a throwing error.
"We knew a month ago we wanted to stay away from this draw," Parola said. "We were fortunate to win this game. We have been very good defensively and that is why we have won ballgames. We made the plays, they had a couple of errors, and we were able to take advantage of it."