Baseball: Timothy Christian can't flip the script
Timothy Christian's baseball team was shut out twice by Chicago Christian during the regular season.
The third meeting wasn't any easier for the Trojans at Monday's Class 2A Benedictine University supersectional in Lisle.
The Knights blanked Timothy Christian for the third time, rolling to a 7-0 victory behind John VanderWall's 2-hitter with 7 strikeouts.
Neither program had won a sectional championship before Saturday, but now Chicago Christian (39-1) is headed to Peoria to play in Friday's state semifinals. The Trojans' best season ends two games shy of the dream, although fond memories of 2017 won't be hard to find.
"They're a really good team, obviously," said Trojans junior shortstop Jimmy Allen. "I'm just happy the way we battled this season, all year long. You've got to pay credit where credit's due. It was a tough game."
VanderWall improved to 13-0 on the season and also had a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the fifth inning that boosted a 4-0 lead to 7-0. The senior righty retired eight straight to end the game and didn't allow a hit the final three innings.
"This is something we've always worked for as a program," said VanderWall, who pitched one inning in the previous two games against the Trojans. "Beating them twice gave us a lot of confidence coming into this one."
Zach Fieling opened the scoring with a solo home run in the second inning off Timothy Christian starter Nick Huisman. The Trojans (19-11) had their best scoring opportunity in the top of the fourth when a Brian Schiff single put runners on first and second with one out, but VanderWall coaxed a 1-6-3 double play to emerge unscathed.
Chicago Christian took a 3-0 lead on a 2-run error in the bottom of the fourth, making the task much tougher for the Trojans against VanderWall.
"This is a special group of kids," said Knights coach Eric Brauer. "We don't want to stop now. We want to get the last two if we can."
The Knights loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning. An RBI single by Dan Vos led to VanderWall's big hit.
"It's been a good season, but it's just kind of frustrating," said Trojans coach Jim Snoeyink. "We've been hitting the ball so well, and we just didn't hit the ball today. It's a rough way to end but these guys have been great all year."
Follow Kevin on Twitter