After nine innings of seemingly effortless pitching, Austin Butler was prepared to keep heading back to the mound if it meant helping Hinsdale Central's baseball team come away with a victory.
Teammate Max Peters, however, made sure his day was done.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Peters skipped a shot down the left-field line to score Ben Chapman with the winning run in the Red Devils' 1-0 victory over Wheaton Warrenville South in Friday's Class 4A Bolingbrook regional semifinals.
The Red Devils (19-16), seeded eighth, advance to Saturday's title game to face top-seeded Plainfield North.
"I'm going to go out there and play as hard as I can every pitch, every inning," Butler said. "That hit, those baserunners. Everybody did their part today, and that's why we won."
Butler was brilliant during an 82-pitch, 9-inning outing. He allowed only 2 hits, walked none and struck out seven. Brett Struebing was nearly as masterful for No. 9 WW South (16-13), scattering 7 hits while striking out eight, hitting a batter and walking two.
Struebing retired the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth, but Red Devils catcher Matt Muellner smacked a double to right-center field. After Chapman was subbed in as a courtesy runner, Michael Johnson was intentionally walked.
Peters, 3-for-4 on the day, took his at-bat to a full count before ending the game with the hit that scored Chapman from second base.
"We couldn't get anything going, their kid did a nice job," said WW South coach Tim Brylka. "We knew going in we felt good about Brett. It was just a matter of if we could push one or two across, and we couldn't do it."
The lineups struggled most of the game against Butler and Struebing, who escaped a first-and-third jam in the second inning by cutting down a runner at home trying to execute a walk-off play. Hinsdale Central put runners on first and second with no outs in the seventh inning, but Struebing coaxed a double play and then struck out the next batter to send the game to extra innings.
Butler allowed only four baserunners, including one that reached on a fielder's choice. WW South put a runner on second base with one out in the sixth, but the Tigers lined into an inning-ending double play.
Butler retired the final 12 batters he faced.
"One of the best pitching performances I've been a part of," said Red Devils coach Jason Ziemer. "It was a dominant performance by Austin."
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