Baseball: Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake South fall short in 3A sectional semifinals

Crystal Lake Central junior John Gariepy changed his mindset after one inning of Wednesday’s Class 2A Grayslake Central Sectional semifinal against Cary-Grove.

He stopped thinking about pitching well. He just started doing it.

Gariepy regrouped from a slow start and dominated the rest of the day, complementing the Tigers’ strong defense and timely hitting. He helped Central beat C-G 5-1 to advance to its first sectional championship since 2008.

“It’s a great feeling,” Gariepy said. “We played insanely well. Props to our defense. Without them, I don’t think we’d be here.”

It wasn’t a sure thing the No. 10 Tigers (18-14) would be here after a bumpy first inning where the No. 6 Trojans scored a run off a walk and two hits. But Gariepy settled down after the first inning and just started to pitch.

Gariepy allowed two more hits, two more walks and three strikeouts for five more innings. He retired seven straight batters before getting out of one last jam in the sixth inning. Junior Connor Gibour came in to earn the save with a perfect inning.

“He struggled a little bit at first, but then found a way to come back and keep competing,” Central coach Caleb Aldridge said. “I’m proud of him. He did a great job.”

Gariepy also had the support of a strong offense right from the start. The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first after senior Jaden Obaldo scored off a wild pitch and Gibour drove in a run off a groundout.

Central added three insurance runs in the fourth after freshman Wade Ozment singled in a run and junior James Dreher brought in two more on a single to right field.

Dreher said the Tigers used their previous experience against Trojans senior starter Ethan Dorchies. The Tigers knew they wanted to hit line drives and ground balls against him and made sure to do that early in the first inning.

“We were able to stay on,” Dreher said. “Putting up those two runs was big for us.”

The Trojans (22-15) picked up their lone run in the first when junior Brock Iverson singled in a run. Dorchies threw four innings, allowing two earned runs and six hits with four strikeouts.

“It’s a great feeling. We played insanely well. Props to our defense, without them, I don’t think we’d be here.”

C-G coach Ryan Passaglia didn’t feel like his team played poorly Wednesday. The Trojans just didn’t execute as much as the Tigers.

“They took advantage of some situations and got some big hits, just started putting some crooked numbers early,” Passaglia said. “We just didn’t have enough today offensively to get back in the game.”

Central will get a chance to win its first sectional title since 2008 when it plays Deerfield on Saturday morning. The Tigers have already had a historic season in Aldridge’s first year, but they’re not ready for it to end just yet.

“We’re really keeping the run going,” Dreher said. “We’re hoping to keep it going and make history.”

Deerfield 6, Crystal Lake South 3:

Sometimes it’s hard to stop a team that’s on a roll in the postseason. Crystal Lake South learned that Wednesday afternoon.

The No. 8 Gators wanted to keep their playoff run going after upsetting No. 1 Wauconda for a regional title. But No. 14 Deerfield held off a late South comeback to win 6-3 and advance to its first-ever sectional championship.

“It comes down to executing plays and today they executed more than we did,” South coach Brian Bodga said. “We made some mistakes on the field and had some at-bats we wish we could have back, mistakes on the base paths. You have to take some of those mistakes, you can’t get upset about them. I’d rather go down being aggressive than being passive.”

The Gators (21-14) trailed 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning when it showed some fight. Freshman Carson Trivellini drove in a run on a groundout before senior Dayton Murphy scored on a wild pitch and junior Christian Alther scored on a bases loaded hit batter. But South couldn’t add any more runs with the bases loaded.

Deerfield added two runs in the seventh inning to seal its spot in the sectional championship.

“I’m really proud of the way we kept going, kept battling, getting back into the game,” Bogda said. “We didn’t put our heads down.”

Deerfield scored a run each in the second and third innings before adding two more in the top of the fifth. The Warriors turned five Gator errors into three unearned runs.

South junior starter Mark Pachla threw six innings, allowing two earned runs off four hits with three strikeouts.

While Bogda was sad to see the season end for his six seniors, he was excited for the experience the young Gators like Pachla gained and how it’ll help them in the future.

“When you have that experience and you’ve been in these games, you don’t get as nervous,” Bogda said. “You’ve been there before and you have that experience to draw back on when you’re in this moment hopefully again.”

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