Burlington Central's Jacob Schutta tied the game with a disputed home run in the top of the seventh inning Saturday afternoon.
There was no doubt about Nathaniel Haacker's game-winning blast for Sycamore.
Haacker hit a one-out solo home run to left-center off Brenden Bushy in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Spartans a 6-5 victory in the Class 3A Hampshire regional championship game.
"We were challenging him there late in the game. We wanted to make him beat us," Central coach Kyle Nelson said. "We didn't want to give him a free pass. We put too many guys on today. That's how they ended up with their runs."
The Rockets (20-12) trailed 5-2 heading into the seventh. Bushy led off with single and Andrew Wiss followed with another single. Schutta hit a shot down the left-field line and over the outfield fence. The Spartans (24-12) thought it was foul, but the umpires ruled it a game-tying 3-run home run.
"This team has a lot of heart," Nelson said. "I knew the game wasn't over. Regardless of what the call was, that's a senior that comes up big with a three-run homer to tie the game."
Sycamore had a chance to end the game in the ninth when it had the bases loaded with two outs, but Bushy got a groundball to get out of the inning. Haacker hit a fastball well over the wall in left-center with one out in the 10th to send the Spartans, who hadn't scored since a 4-run third, to the Rochelle sectional.
"He threw me a pitch inside and I crushed it," said Haacker, who had his arms raised over his head almost instantly while running to first base.
Each team scored in the first inning. Central took a 2-1 lead in the second on a run-scoring groundout from Bushy. The Spartans scored 4 times on just 2 hits in the third to take a 5-2 lead.
The Rockets used four pitchers and they had trouble finding the strike zone. Central pitchers walked 13 and hit a batter. Sycamore had only 7 hits, 3 off the bat of Haacker.
Schutta went 3-for-5 at the plate. Wiss, Cody Schuver and Danny Gerke each had 2 hits for the Rockets.