Baseball: Buffalo Grove walks off Glenbrook North on Gledhill's single

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent

If it's playoff time at Buffalo Grove, it is time for a walk off.

The Bison, who had two walk-off wins last year in the playoffs, had another one Wednesday at the Class 4A Fremd regional in Palatine.

Carter Gledhill's single in the bottom of the eighth inning scored Alex Paul, who had tripled, to help Buffalo Grove get past Glenbrook North 11-10.

Buffalo Grove (21-11) will play the winner of Thursday's game between Fremd and Hersey for the regional championship Saturday at 11 a.m.

Buffalo Grove appeared to have things well under control on Wednesday with the Bison leading 10-4 going into the top of the seventh.

Glenbrook North (18-16) pieced together 3 hits, a walk and an error to cut the margin to 10-7. With two out, Jack Fitzharris blasted a 3-run homer and suddenly it was tied 10-10.

"We have been playing games like this all year," Buffalo Grove coach Tim Miller said. "With the playoffs and the pitch count rules you have to roll the dice. We just didn't play good defense. It happens. But our kids stayed resilient."

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In the bottom of the eighth, Buffalo Grove got two quick outs. Alex Paul, who came on in relief in the top of the inning and induced a double play, tripled off the right field wall.

"I got to the plate and I knew I had to move up and focus on not try to do too much," said Paul, who had 3 hits on the day. "I knew Carter would pick me up after I got on and that is exactly what happened."

It took just two pitches when Gledhill, who had 3 walks and a hit in his previous at-bats, drilled a single to left for the game-winner.

"Just a little single," Gledhill said. "And that's what I got, just a little single. I told Alex before he went up to get on and that I would get him in."

Glenbrook North took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a home run.

The Bison tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second. Paul singled and stole second and later came home on Connor Adams' RBI single.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Buffalo Grove took advantage of a pair leadoff walks to Riku Komatani and Tyler Fricke to lead 3-1 in the third. Both would score, Komatani on a single by Riley Rundquist and Fricke on a single by Gledhill.

The Bison gave one back in the fourth. The Spartans had a hit batter, a single and two errors on a play to cut the lead to 3-2.

The Bison appeared to be in command when Rundquist singled in the fifth to score Fricke. After loading the bases with two outs, pinch hitter Nick Openbrier battled to a full count. He then lofted a high pop to left that the wind caught and it dropped between three Glenbrook North defenders. All three runners scored as Buffalo Grove led 7-2.

Buffalo Grove need those extra runs when Glenbrook North put together 4 hits in the sixth to score 2 runs to close to 7-4. With two outs and two on and the tying run at the plate, Nathan Cole came on for BG to strike out the next batter on three pitches.

Rundquist added back a run in the sixth when his sacrifice fly scored Komatani, who had walked. The Bison then appeared to break it open with a 2-run double by Adams that made it 10-4.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"All year we have been struggling to put up runs," said Rundquist, who had 3 hits, a sacrifice fly and drove in 3 runs. "We got a bunch today. We just continue to find ways to win."

Miller said that a win is a win.

"We got the W," Miller said. "And in the playoffs, that is all that matters."

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