First innings can be so deceptive.
Allowing a leadoff triple to start Saturday's Class 3A Glenbard South sectional final, Montini pitcher Eric Frontzak struck out the next two batters and coaxed a groundout to escape unharmed. In the bottom half Montini loaded the bases and went up 2-0.
Shortly, though, Fenwick found its offensive timing to rap 15 hits and Friars coach Dave Hogan hustled second baseman Quinn Snarskis in to pitch. The right-hander responded with 6 shutout innings of 1-hit relief as No. 7 seed Fenwick (25-10) won 6-2 to advance to Monday's North Central College supersectional against Grayslake Central, a 9-5 winner over Gordon Tech at Marian Central.
"That's part of our M.O. this year, is one time through the lineup we usually can adjust real well, as you can see, and then we start hitting the ball," said Hogan, whose team won its first sectional title in program history.
Thus capped the season for No. 3 Montini and a career for Broncos coach Bob Landi. Retiring after six years as baseball coach and Montini athletic director, he will be succeeded as AD by dean of students and longtime Montini coach and supporter Tom Lentine. A new baseball coach hasn't been named.
Before leaving Landi hoped to snag Montini's first sectional title since 2005.
"We didn't beat ourselves, they beat us. It is what it is," Landi said.
"Nobody there is going to roll over and I was proud of the kids, we didn't roll over," he said. "Even in that seventh inning when we came back in to hit (trailing 6-2) I actually thought we were going to put five on the board. It just didn't go our way. That's baseball. That's the way life is, too."
Highs and lows.
Montini (23-10) got cracking with leadoff hitter Jake Pestel's single off Fenwick submarine pitcher Jimmy Madormo, who walked three batters in the inning, one to Jake Mencacci that forced in Rhett Wojkovich for the first run. Frontzak (5-3) lined a two-out single to score Eddie Bava, but Fenwick's errorless defense caught a Bronco in a rundown for the third out.
"That first inning I felt hurt us a little bit," Landi said. "We got up 2-0, but I would have liked to have put up a nice 3 or 4 or 5 on."
After that it was Fenwick's bats -- and Snarskis. The Friars tied the score in the third and went up 3-2 in the fourth on Michael Krecek's deep double that scored Mike Neill from first.
Montini reliever Sean Frontzak, Eric's younger brother, contained Fenwick until the top of the seventh. The Friars tacked on 3 runs paced by doubles by Kristian Meyer and Justin Rodriguez.
Meanwhile, Snarskis' sneaky sidearm and three-quarters deliveries retired 18 of the 21 batters he faced, allowing only Bava's hard grounder up the middle leading off the Montini sixth.
"I thought, I've got to just keep this team in it," Snarskis said of his long relief duty. "We always fight, we've fought all season. We've had so many games where we've come up short. I thought as a team we just didn't want that to happen today."
No one did. Montini senior first baseman Mencacci, who sent the Broncos into Saturday with his RBI triple against Nazareth, stood up to the adversity.
"It was a great season. We have a really great group of seniors," he said. "It's tough to swallow right now, but Fenwick's a classy program, we respect them, they deserved it today. They just flat-out beat us."