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updated: 6/7/2014 6:18 PM

Grayslake C. makes third straight supersectional

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Grayslake Central's baseball team has "TW" as well "TWTW."

"We joke about 'TWTW,' and it doesn't stand for me or Tiger Woods," Rams coach/White Sox fan Troy Whalen said with a laugh.

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The Rams have Hawk Harrelson's favorite "The Will To Win" -- and more.

"These kids just have fight," Whalen said.

Grayslake Central has something else, too -- three straight Class 3A sectional championships after knocking off Gordon Tech 9-5 at Marian Central Catholic in Woodstock on Saturday.

Once 8-8, the Rams improved to 28-10 with their 20th win in their last 22 games. They will try to earn a return trip to Joliet when they face Fenwick at 5 p.m. Monday in the North Central College supersectional in Naperville.

The Rams have been to the sectional final five times in the last six years and have won four of those games.

"I'm really happy for the kids," Whalen said. "I told them when the game was over, 'We've defied the odds this year. Let's see if we can defy the odds even more and win again Monday.' "

On a day when their offense was needed against what Whalen called a "scrappy" Gordon Tech squad, Grayslake Central responded with 14 hits, while scoring in four of the seven innings. The game was tied at 1-1 after the first inning. The Rams then put up 3 runs in the top of the second with Mike Stone, Justin Dooley and Pat Burba all delivering RBI hits.

The game remained 4-1 heading into the fourth when Gordon Tech got to starter David Llorens for 3 runs. The Rams hurt themselves by committing an uncharacteristic 3 errors, and the game was tied at 4-4.

Augustana-bound Matt Loeffl quickly gave Grayslake Central the lead again in the top of the fifth inning, as he blasted a one-out triple to deep right-center and scored on a wild pitch.

"Matt Loeffl had the hit of the day," Whalen said.

Gordon Tech responded with a run off reliever Russ Lundius in its half of the fifth, tying the game at 5-5.

But in the Grayslake Central sixth, eight batters came to the plate. Kyle Clark produced the big hit with a bases-loaded, 2-RBI single.

Anthony Fitzgerald added an RBI single, and Stone picked up his third hit of the game, plating the Rams' final run in a 4-run frame.

Lundius then retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh innings to pick up his seventh win on the season.

While Stone supplied 3 hits, Burba and Dooley both had a pair of singles.

"We've relied on our pitching and defense," Whalen said. "I told the guys, 'The offense is going to need to carry us today.' It was a hitter's day."

The Rams' Nos. 7-8-9 hitters -- Fitzgerald, Stone and Dooley -- provided eight hits. Included was a pinch-hit single by Sam Ruhlmann.

"When that happens," Whalen said, "you got to like your chances."

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