Baseball: St. Rita ends Fremd's season in supersectional
St. Rita turned the Fremd scoring machine completely off and ended the Vikings' state championship hopes.
Fremd, which had scored 39 runs in its four playoff games, ran into St. Rita's Victor Aguilar. The Mustang hurler kept Fremd off balance as St. Rita topped the Vikings 3-0 Monday in the Class 4A supersectional at Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg.
"We just didn't make adjustments early enough," said Fremd coach Chris Piggott, whose team had just 4 hits.
"He was coming at us with a fastball and he was keeping us off balance with the slider. We just had a tough time squaring up. We had a couple opportunities, we just could not capitalize on them."
Fremd (23-15) made a pair of uncharacteristic errors in the top of the first that helped St. Rita (34-5) jump out to a 2-0 lead.
"When you make mistakes against a good team," Piggott said, "it is tough to recover from."
The Vikings settled down from there and followed with a few outstanding defensive plays. Connor Giusti threw out a Mustang batter who attempted to bunt his way on and Will Josten ended another inning when he threw out a St. Rita runner.
"It is just baseball like that," said Fremd's TJ Davis, who pitched well to keep the Vikings in the game, also allowing just 4 hits.
"I thought I pitched well. I got a little tired at the end and made some errors. I was able to trust my defense and let them do the work."
St. Rita, which takes on St. Charles North in Friday's state semifinals in Joliet, showed it can play a little defense as well.
Fremd's Nick Rattin singled to left and then stole second on a poor pickoff play. Charlie Towns followed with a ground ball that the St. Rita second baseman was able to capture deep in the hole. Rattin kept on running from third and was out at the plate to end the threat.
The Vikings came right back in the fourth with another opportunity to score. A single by Giusti and a walk to Josten had runners on first and second with one out. But a strikeout and fielder's choice by the Vikings ended the threat.
St. Rita added to its lead in the sixth. The Mustangs went small ball with a pair of bunt singles and an error to put runners on the corners. A sacrifice fly then gave them a 3-0 lead.
Fremd again had an opportunity to score, but came away frustrated again. The Vikings had runners on first and second after a walk to Towns and Giusti being hit by a pitch. Again, a strikeout and a fielder's choice closed out the inning for St. Rita.
It was the end to one of the best seasons in Fremd history. The Vikings won their first sectional title since 2000 and were able to pull in a large crowd to Boomers Stadium to cheer them on.
"This senior class, I told them, they set the bar high for what Fremd baseball should be" Piggott said. "Hopefully our younger guys had a good experience and learn from them to compete every day. I couldn't be prouder."
Giusti, whose father Ross is the head coach at Prospect, said he had heard from his father all about playoff baseball. The younger Giusti said that his experience at Fremd is something he will never forget.
"It was a blast," Connor Giusti said. "Playing with these guys for four years was awesome. Everything my dad said that would happen happened. It was so surreal. This whole run and everything. I am so happy with this team. It was a great season for everyone."
Rattin was one of the team's co-captains. He also earlier this year suffered through a disappointing football playoff loss said that he hopes that this playoff run will inspire future baseball teams like it has for football.
"I love these guys so much," Rattin said. "We came and competed every day and changed the program for the good. We have been talking about this since freshman year -- that we had something special here. I wish we could have gone a little farther. I love competing with them and I will miss all of them."