Bases-loaded opportunities in half the innings.
The tying run at the plate in the top of the seventh.
No matter how much pressure Montini's baseball team applied, it still wasn't enough in Wednesday's Class 3A Benet sectional semifinals.
The Broncos fell 11-7 to Nazareth at Lisle's Benedictine University, allowing the Roadrunners to face East Suburban Catholic Conference rival Benet for the sectional championship at 10 a.m. Saturday.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning, Roadrunners reliever Thomas Sandt got a strikeout looking to end the game.
"It was definitely a boxing match and I thought our guys battled hard," said Montini coach Rich Janor. "Our guys showed some grit out there."
Nazareth's 5-run bottom of the fourth inning broke a 3-3 tie, sparked by Ryan Turgeon's 2-run double. The Roadrunners (20-17) appeared safely ahead 8-3 at that point, but Montini rallied to within 8-7 in the sixth inning behind Nick Malik's RBI single and Ryan Nelson's bases-clearing double.
Nazareth got the runs back in the bottom of the inning. Derek Salata and Michael Milano drove in runs.
"It was a battle from the second inning on, and we just stayed in the game nonstop," Turgeon said. "We never stopped fighting. We're coming together as a team right now."
After sending seven batters to the plate in the first two innings combined, Montini kept the bases busy with 18 baserunners in the final five innings. They even managed to do it with shortstop and team captain Jake Karczewski leaving the game in the third inning with an injury.
Starting pitcher Alex Luka had 2 hits, as did Cooper Hynes and Malik. Michael and Dominic Milano had 2 hits for Nazareth.
"We knew Nazareth was going to be a good team," Janor said. "It just didn't go our way today. We can still hang our hat on some good memories this season."
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