Barrington's Daniel Kubiuk really knows how to close things out.
Kubiuk, who was the closer on his high school team this spring, demonstrated in Barrington on Saturday that he can start and close in the same game. Kubiuk threw 8-plus innings of 4-hit baseball as Barrington rolled past Elgin 7-1 in the Division 2 American Legion title game in Barrington.
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It was the 29th win in the last 30 games for Barrington Post 158 (37-7) and the outcome sent them to the state tournament for the first time since 2009. They will play host Arlington Heights, which won the Division 1 tournament, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Recreation Park.
"This is a fun, fun team to be around," Barrington coach Nate Gray said. "The kids have give it everything they got. It has been a great summer."
Kubiuk pitched and hit Post 158 to make sure that summer didn't end, even though the Northwestern walk-on is scheduled to begin football practice next week.
"I am not going anywhere right now," said Kubiuk, who had 3 hits, including an RBI double, while striking out six. "I had a lot of confidence out there. Coach has been building up my stamina this summer and I felt great out there today."
While Kubiuk was keeping Elgin at bay, his teammates were rapping the ball all over the field. Every player had a hit in the lineup as Post 158 banged out 15 hits.
"I worked hard in the cages before the game and I felt good out there," said Jake Coon, who had 3 hits and scored 2 runs. "There was a focus out there today from all of us. It has been building since districts and through the division. We are all locked in."
That seemed to be true right from the start on Saturday.
Jake Petersen tripled to the gap in right field and Kubiuk doubled off the wall to make it 1-0 in the first inning. Barrington came back in the next inning as Coon, who singled to lead off the inning, scored on a sacrifice fly by Brad Powell.
Barrington doubled its lead in the fourth. Coon and Anthony Lombardi each singled and moved up on a balk. The pair then scored on a Jack Lenz single.
"I am seeing the ball well," said Lenz, who had 2 hits and 3 RBI. "I have been working on staying extended through the ball and was able to square a couple up and get some runs in."
Kubiuk continued to dominate Elgin. He had a 4-pitch inning in the fifth and at one point retired 9 batters in a row.
"Kubiuk pitched unbelievable," Gray said. "Our goal was to get him where he could start these games for us. He locked them down today."
Barrington gave Kubiuk more breathing room in the seventh, scoring 3 more runs. Jared Ludwig double home both Peterson and Coon. Ludwig then scored on Lenz's sacrifice fly.
Kubiuk tired in the 9th and after loading the bases gave way to Jack Covek. After a pop out, Elgin (22-11) broke the shutout on a sacrifice fly by Cody Schurer. Covek then ended the threat when he picked a runner off of first to end the game.
"We have been getting great pitching all season," Gray said. "It will be exciting to see how we do at the state tournament."
The state tournament will have three area teams competing, beginning Wednesday.
Arlington, which had already earned an automatic berth in the tournament as the host team, was declared the winner of District 1. The Northwest Legion team, comprised of players from Palatine and Elk Grove, also advanced to the tournament as the representative of Division 1.
The teams were scheduled to meet Saturday, with Arlington having already defeated Northwest Legion earlier this week. The Northwest Legion would have had to defeat Arlington twice to win the district title. But since there was nothing really at stake, the games were not played.