Baseball: Fremd routs Lake Forest for first sectional title in 19 years
There would be no comeback this time.
Days after watching a cushy 5-run lead evaporate in the seventh inning and needing an extra inning to pull out a win, Fremd left no question about the outcome of Saturday's sectional baseball championship game.
The Vikings, who almost gave away a sure sectional semifinal win to Warren earlier this week (but won 6-5 in eight innings), strung together more than enough hits and runs to shut the door decisively on Lake Forest to win the Class 4A St. Viator sectional championship 13-0 at Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg.
Fremd, which improved to 23-14 by winning its first sectional title in 19 years, now advances to play St. Rita in Monday's 7:30 p.m. Boomers Stadium supersectional. St. Rita beat Nazareth 7-0 Saturday to win its own sectional title.
"We just had to come together. The energy was great today," said Fremd pitcher Victor Fujiu, who got the complete game shutout. "We wanted to come out and get the job done. We wanted to make a statement (after the Warren game) that everyone should watch out for Fremd baseball."
Fujiu's own personal statement was certainly definitive as well.
He did not show many lulls or weak points throughout the entire game. The Vikings' ace allowed only 4 hits and never allowed a Lake Forest runner beyond second base.
Fujiu finished with 9 strikeouts as well.
"He was just great, so great," Fremd third baseman Connor Giusti said of Fujiu. "He was all amped up and he's been like that all season. He's one of the most competitive people I've ever been around. It was fun to watch him pitch like that.
"We've been on a roller coaster of emotions since our last game (against Warren). We just knew we had to go right at them today."
With Fujiu pitching a gem, his teammates were aggressive at the plate and put together three monster innings, the third, sixth and seventh.
The 3-run offensive outburst in the third inning, thanks in part to RBI by Giusti and Ryan Kiolbassa, would have been enough as it turned out.
But the Vikings went nuts in the sixth and seventh, scoring 5 runs in each inning and racking up 9 of their 15 hits.
Giusti drove in another run over that stretch as did Brent Swenson and Nick Varon and Charlie Towns. And Will Josten hit a 2-run homer in the seventh for good measure.
"These guys have had an up and down season but we have a lot of seniors and they are battle-tested," said Fremd coach Chris Piggott, who has been impressed with the resiliency of his team after a 2-6 start to the season.
"I knew they would come out ready to play. It's a real tight group and they've got each other's back. They are resilient and they've showed it."
Piggott also said Fujiu's performance was key. He called it his best effort of the season by far.
Lake Forest, which closed out its season with a 25-11 record, couldn't solve Fujiu.
"Obviously we didn't hit that great today," Lake Forest starting pitcher Connor Morrison said. "Their pitcher pitched great. We just couldn't square him up. He was tough and his defense made plays. We just couldn't get anything through."
The Scouts' only serious threat came in the bottom of the sixth when they had two runners on. But Fujiu closed the door with an emphatic strikeout to end the inning.
" (Fujiu) was pretty tough, and we didn't put a lot of pressure on him," Lake Forest coach Ray Del Fava said. "He did what he needed to do and their offense was pretty good today. The whole game, the one thing we didn't get was that timely hit."