Baseball: Towns' big day leads Fremd past Hersey, into regional final
Charlie Towns has Fremd dancing.
Towns had 3 hits and a sacrifice fly and drove in 4 runs to lead the Vikings past Hersey 9-5 Thursday in a Class 4A regional semifinal baseball game at Fremd in Palatine.
Fremd (20-14), which is the fifth seed, will meet fourth-seeded Buffalo Grove Saturday at 1 p.m. for the regional title.
Towns had a double and a pair of singles to spark a 15-hit attack for Fremd. Most of that came from the bottom three spots in the batting order which combined for 8 hits, 3 of them for extra bases. They also drove in 8 runs in front of a large contingent of Fremd students who were tailgating before the game.
"Today was a good day," said Towns, who did all his damage out of the 9-hole.
"I'll take it. I am just lucky enough to be in the lineup and when I have a job to do if I can do that job it is all that I can ask for."
Fremd coach Chris Piggott said he liked his team's approach at the plate.
"We have a good lineup," Piggott said. "The bottom of the order came up big today. That is nice to see. We swung the bats well and had opportunities to score even more runs."
Ryan Kiolbassa, who bats seventh and had 2 hits and 2 RBI, said that it was big for the bottom of the order to come through so strongly.
"The bottom of the lineup really stepped up," Kiolbassa said. "They needed us to come up with some big hits and we did."
Matt Wingen, who had 3 hits including a double and drove in 2 runs, said that after his first at-bat, where he struck out, he knew he had to be more focused.
"I really felt my teammates cheering me on during that second at-bat," Wingen said. "I just wanted to make a difference in this game and help us win."
Hersey (17-16) took the lead in the second when Luke Picchiotti, who 3 hits, scored on an error to make it 1-0.
The teams then traded runs with Nick Varon scoring on Towns' double and Hersey's Daniel Clawson tallying on Hunter Luke's single that made it 2-1.
Fremd put up a 4-spot in the third.
Will Josten scored on Kiolbassa's single. Wingen knocked home a pair with a double and Towns' sacrifice fly made it 5-3.
Hersey bounced right back, scoring three times in its next at-bat. AJ Ceffalio had a sacrifice fly and Clawson had a 2-run single to tie the game at 5-5.
It remained that way until the Fremd sixth when the Vikings used a little small ball to pull ahead 9-5.
After Connor Giusti led off with a single, Josten followed with a bunt single. Varon, who also was bunting, reached on a throwing error to load the bases. Kiolbassa drove in a run on a fielder's choice. Wingen's single knocked in another run and Towns followed with a 2-run single to give the Vikings some breathing room.
And they needed it when Hersey rallied for two in the top of the seventh with two outs on a 2-run double by Picchiotti. Peter Holler, who came on in the fourth, then got the final out to close out the game.
"These guys grew so much this year," Hersey coach Wally Brownley said. "We could have packed it in. We are going to fight. These guys are incredible."