With Batavia hoping to see a few more fastballs Thursday in the championship game of the St. Charles East regional in the IHSBCA summer state tournament, Crystal Lake South starter Timmy Siesennop had other ideas.
The junior lefty kept Batavia off-balance all game, primarily with his curve ball. Siesennop's 5-hit shutout gave the Gators the title with a 4-0 win.
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"He throws fastballs (early) and we rip the ball around and we start choking on the breaking ball," Batavia coach Matt Holm said. "I walked over and told the guys if he throws you one more fastball they are not very smart. You are going to have to prove you can hit the breaking ball. And there were only a couple we put in play hard. He did a really nice job."
No. 5 seed Crystal Lake South won its second regional in three years and advances to Monday's state tournament at Benedictine University in Lisle.
The Gators won in 12 innings Tuesday and 8 innings Wednesday as underdogs before blanking No. 7 seed Batavia (18-7).
"We were not favored the last two days and we really pulled through and had a lot of key hits. It was really a confidence booster," Siesennop said of the two extra-inning wins.
"I tried to keep them off-balance. I used the curve ball to my advantage. That's my go-to pitch in tight situations. They got onto my fastball early. Later on I needed to use more curves."
Siesennop allowed 4 hits in the first two innings and only 1 the rest of the way. He finished with 5 strikeouts and no walks to win his third game of the summer without a defeat.
"Timmy got a lot of first-pitch strikes. I think that was key," Gators coach Brian Bogda said of Siesennop who threw 57 of his 83 pitches for strikes. "We have some pitching. I think that's one thing this group has done a great job."
Batavia's best chance to score came in the top of the first only to see Gators center fielder Collin Chubb throw a bullet to catcher Nick Van Witzenburg to nail a would-be run at the plate.
Chubb also threw out a runner at the plate in Wednesday's 3-2 win over St. Charles North.
"That was huge," Siesennop said. "Collin had a great throw just like yesterday. It really helped me out and gave me more confidence."
The Gators grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first without a hit. Chubb was hit by a pitch, took second on Van Witzenburg's bunt, third on a wild pitch and scored on John Constantino's ground out.
The Gators (18-5-3) also used small ball to take a 2-0 lead in the second when Batavia threw away a bunt to allow Michael Avella -- who had led off with a single -- to score.
After two innings Batavia (18-7) had outhit the Gators 4-1 yet trailed 2-0.
The Bulldogs never did get their offense going, and Crystal Lake South tacked on single runs in the third and fifth innings to give Siesennop more than enough support.
"I was proud of the way the guys battled and the way they added on. We didn't get complacent," Bogda said. "These guys play for each other and work together and that's something I'm really excited about moving forward is they are really pulling for each other."
Batavia, coming off a school record for wins this spring, followed it up with a strong summer. And the Bulldogs did it with an almost entirely new cast after graduating nearly their entire lineup.
Michael Fossali doubled for one of Batavia's 5 hits Thursday. Eric Huizinga took the loss, throwing 5 innings, striking out 3, walking 1 and allowing 3 earned runs.
"I feel we have four senior pitchers who are going to give us a great spring," Holm said. "I feel like we've got quite a bit to reload with and feel good about that."