Glenbrook South baseball pounds Fremd, looks for more
Glenbrook South looked like world beaters in its Class 4A regional opener on June 4, beating Fremd 15-0 in less than five full innings in Glenview.
Behind starting pitcher Matt Rosenberger's crisp 3-inning outing the Titans amassed 15 hits with home runs from James Hackett, George Korompilas and Kevin Pauly.
Four Titans hitters up and down the batting order -- Hackett, Pauly, Cole Luckey and Caden Herron -- had multiple-hit games, and John Henry Russell's bases-loaded single in the bottom of the fourth inning scored Herron to trigger the so-called "mercy" rule and end it.
"This is going to sound pretty bad, but we've been hitting pretty well all season," said Glenbrook South coach Steve Stanicek, whose club improved to 23-10-1.
"With a hitters' day, our offense is very explosive on a day like this. I mean, we have some kids that can really drive the ball, we have kids that put it in play, we have some team speed. This is probably one of the best offenses that we've had at GBS in a long time," he said.
As Rosenberger (5-3) said, "anything can happen" in the playoffs. Just ask Warren.
While No. 5 seed Glenbrook South was winning in lopsided fashion, No. 4 Warren was trailing Highland Park 15-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Blue Devils rallied to win the game 16-15 and advanced to host Glenbrook South in Monday's regional final.
On Monday, though, Glenbrook South contained Warren, winning 8-4 in Gurnee. It set up Wednesday's 4 p.m. sectional semifinal at No. 1 Libertyville, an 11-1 winner over No. 8 Buffalo Grove. That winner moves to the sectional championship at 2:30 p.m. Friday against either No. 2 Glenbrook North or No. 3 Prospect.
Should Wednesday be the end of Glenbrook South's road, it was a good run.
"It's been fun," said Rosenberger, allowed 3 hits and threw 20 of 38 pitches for strikes before turning it over to Sava Dupor for the shared shutout.
"We've had our ups and downs. We started off pretty good and then we had a stretch where we weren't playing as well. But we seem to have found our rhythm again and are playing some of our best baseball of the year right now, which is good," Rosenberger said.
No. 12 Fremd (10-16) knew what it was getting into last Friday. Glenbrook South had beaten the Vikings 12-2 early in the season.
"We had nothing to lose," said Fremd coach Chris Piggott. "They had the higher seed; we're not expected to win. We just wanted to go out and have good at-bats. We've struggled offensively all year, and when you get 3 hits it's tough to win a ballgame -- and you make as many mistakes as we did defensively."
First baseman James Philip had 2 of the Vikings' hits, both singles.
Glenbrook South scored 3 unearned runs in the bottom half of the first inning and tacked on 4 more runs in the second.
With a breeze behind him, Hackett blasted his sixth home run of the season -- a towering, 2-run shot to the deepest part of the Titans' ballpark about 390 feet away in left-center.
Three batters later, with Luckey on base, Korompilas launched the second 2-run home run of the inning.
The Titans kept it on with 6 more runs in the third. Batting around, big blasts included catcher Hunter Wiesensel's leadoff double, Hackett's run-scoring double, and Pauly's 3-run home run into the pines down the left field line.
"We wanted to try to play a good game defensively and get the off-speed pitch over for strikes. We just didn't do that," Piggott said.
Forced to go with the heat, the Titans were ready.
"We were just trying to jump on the fastball, taking it the other way and having the baserunners do their job, and getting runs," Pauly said.
Glenbrook South succeeded on all counts Friday. Hackett was 2-for-3 with 3 runs batted-in and 3 runs scored. Pauly was 3-for-3 with 3 runs batted-in.
A sectional final against Glenbrook North would be spectacular, but whenever the season comes to an end, it's been a good one.
"It's lived up to my expectations and more," Hackett said. "I feel like it was a little weird watching the basketball team, all that was like not even a real season. But this has been pretty much a real season."
A little surprising, too.
"We've been very fortunate just to have a season," Stanicek said. "We were going into January and February thinking that we would not be able to play at all, and then we get a season and have the success that we've had. I mean, 23 wins in a shortened season, I think that's a pretty good statement for the kids that are in this dugout."