Baseball: Barrington notches regional title-game win over McHenry
It would be hard to find a better pitching matchup than the one between McHenry and Barrington at the Class 4A Dundee-Crown baseball regional final Saturday afternoon in Carpentersville.
A pair of unbeatens in McHenry's Joe Kaminski and Broncos' junior Nate Holler took center stage.
Holler battled through a top of the seventh inning jam to preserve a 5-4 win over the No. 4 seed Warriors. The win propels the top-seeded and 30-6 Broncos on to the McHenry sectional Wednesday night where they will Hampshire at 6:30 p.m. at Peterson Park.
McHenry's Carter Float lifted a single to right after one out in the seventh inning. A stolen base by Float after a strikeout of Jaedin Kotecki put the Warriors in scoring position.
Holler threw a wild pitch advancing Float to third. Holler then induced Nolan Shannon to hit a ground ball to third for the final out.
"My team made the plays that they had to," said Holler whose record improved to 10-0. "I had confidence in my slider and I felt I could throw it for a strike in key situations."
Holler struck out 5 and walked none in the complete game.
"He's as tough as nails," said Barrington coach Pat Wire. "When the situation got bigger, he got bigger. He just brings so much toughness to the team. When we have him on the mound we know we have a chance to win."
The win did not come easy as 2 errors in the first inning led to Luke Anderson's sacrifice fly to give McHenry (23-14) a 1-0 lead.
With two outs a passing shower delayed the game for 45 minutes.
When play resumed Holler struck out Mark Winter for the final out.
"That was a big strikeout," said Holler. "We got together after that half inning and said we had to play better defense."
Barrington tied the game in the bottom of the first on A.J. Christoffer's double.
The Broncos went up 3-1 when an outfield error with two outs allowed Will Koehler (3-for-3) and Clark Elliott to score.
Holler recorded seven outs until Jake Evans hit a 320-foot home run to right field to pull McHenry to within 3-2.
In the sixth inning, Koehler singled and Elliott walked after one out. A double steal and a wild pitch by Kaminski (6-1) gave the Broncos a 4-2 lead.
Christoffer then lifted a 0-2 pitch to left field for a sacrifice fly to score White.
"With an 0-2 count," said Christoffer, " I just wanted to get the bat on the ball. Now we move on. This team has experience and we know that nothing comes easy in the tournament."
McHenry pulled to within 5-4 following an RBI single by Kaminski and a fielder's choice RBI from Winter. But Holler closed the door by getting five of the next six batters.
"I'm very proud of my boys," said Wire. "We faced a very good team and pitcher today."