Baseball: Prairie Ridge pulls out another 1-run win, beats St. Francis

  • Prairie Ridge's Will Komar slides into St. Francis third baseman Adam Wiborg as he steals the base in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021.

    Prairie Ridge's Will Komar slides into St. Francis third baseman Adam Wiborg as he steals the base in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Prairie Ridge's Will Komar jumps on the celebratory pile as St. Francis' TJ McMillen reacts n the foreground to the end of the Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021.

    Prairie Ridge's Will Komar jumps on the celebratory pile as St. Francis' TJ McMillen reacts n the foreground to the end of the Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • St. Francis' Prairie Ridge's Parker Swanson reacts after striking out the last St. Francis batter in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021. Infielders Alex Milone and Tyler Vasey celebrate behind him as catcher Owen Brock comes to celebrate with Swanson.

    St. Francis' Prairie Ridge's Parker Swanson reacts after striking out the last St. Francis batter in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021. Infielders Alex Milone and Tyler Vasey celebrate behind him as catcher Owen Brock comes to celebrate with Swanson. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • St. Francis' Will Gilroy is hit by a pitch from Prairie Ridge's Matt Porter in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021.

    St. Francis' Will Gilroy is hit by a pitch from Prairie Ridge's Matt Porter in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • St. Francis' TJ McMillen slides into third base on a passed ball against Prairie Ridge Monday in a Class 3A supersectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg.

    St. Francis' TJ McMillen slides into third base on a passed ball against Prairie Ridge Monday in a Class 3A supersectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • St. Francis' Max MaCallum rounds second base on his way to a triple against Prairie Ridge in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021.

    St. Francis' Max MaCallum rounds second base on his way to a triple against Prairie Ridge in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Prairie Ridge's Dylan Bremer steals third base and then scores on a wild throw by St. Francis in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021.

    Prairie Ridge's Dylan Bremer steals third base and then scores on a wild throw by St. Francis in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Prairie Ridge's Alex Milone advances to third base on a fly ball from St. Francis in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021.

    Prairie Ridge's Alex Milone advances to third base on a fly ball from St. Francis in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • St. Francis' Rocco Tenuta works against Prairie Ridge in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021.

    St. Francis' Rocco Tenuta works against Prairie Ridge in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • St. Francis' Rocco Tenuta gets an RBI base hit to score TJ McMillen against Prairie Ridge in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021.

    St. Francis' Rocco Tenuta gets an RBI base hit to score TJ McMillen against Prairie Ridge in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Prairie Ridge's Will Komar reaches for the bag as he collides with St. Francis third baseman Adam Wiborg while stealing the base in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021.

    Prairie Ridge's Will Komar reaches for the bag as he collides with St. Francis third baseman Adam Wiborg while stealing the base in a Class 3A baseball super sectional at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg Monday, June 14, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/14/2021 9:29 PM

Prairie Ridge pitcher Parker Swanson could not bear to watch the top of the seventh inning as the Wolves batted against St. Francis.

The senior right-hander knew what he was about to be facing, the Spartans' 2-3-4 hitters, with a one-run lead and a trip to the Class 3A state tournament semifinals on the line.

 

"I was freaking out to be honest," Swanson said. "I had my eyes closed that whole top of the seventh inning."

On the mound was a different story.

Swanson threw 13 pitches -- 10 of which were strikes -- to fan all three batters and close the Wolves' 5-4 victory Monday at the Schaumburg supersectional at Wintrust Field. Prairie Ridge (18-13) will play Washington at 10 a.m. Thursday back at Wintrust Field. The Panthers beat Geneseo, 7-2, in the Geneseo supersectional on Monday.

After Swanson struck out St. Francis' TJ McMillen for the final out he tossed his glove in the air and screamed at catcher Owen Brock, who rushed the mound. A few seconds later the rest of the Wolves created a dogpile in front of home plate.

A team that was .500 to start the postseason is now in the Final Four and has won three consecutive one-run games.

"These one-run games are going to give me a heart attack," Prairie Ridge coach Glen Pecoraro said. "Seriously. Parker came in and filled it up. He's our No. 2 starter. He's really good as a closer. We felt he'd be pretty good."

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Both starters, Prairie Ridge senior Matt Porter and St. Francis' Rocco Tenuta, had trouble early before settling in to each keep their teams in the game. Tenuta allowed three in the first, then Porter struggled through a 33-pitch second inning in which the Spartans (18-11) tied the score at 3-3.

"That's probably why they were pitching that game," Spartans coach Tom Ciombor said. "They're both competitors. Their lefty came right at us. He limited our running game with his (pickoff) move. It could have gone either way. It was a well-played game."

Tenuta desperately wanted to do the job for St. Francis' seniors.

"At the beginning, I was nervous," Tenuta said. "I realized that I've done this before, it's just another baseball game. I know what I'm doing. It calmed me down. I locked in."

Prairie Ridge leadoff man Will Komar reached base all four times he batted and scored three times. He walked to lead off the game and scored on Alex Milone's double. Milone scored on a wild pitch, then Nathan Koteras also doubled and scored on a stolen base and scoring error.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Prairie Ridge has scored 19 first-inning runs in its five postseason wins.

"Our coaches told us to stick with what we've been doing," Komar said. "We did the same thing today."

Porter walked one batter and hit two in the second, both with the bases loaded. Over the next four innings, he held the Spartans to one run. Porter was at 99 pitches to start the sixth, but the Wolves squeezed out one more inning and Porter was perfect.

Pecoraro said pitching coach Mark Skonieczy made the decision to send Porter out for one more inning. The IHSA's pitch-count rules extend from 105 in the regular season to 115 in the postseason.

"I wanted (the sixth) more than anything," Porter said. "I wanted to do it for my teammates. They came to me (after the second) and said, 'We have your back, you go out there and do what you do. We're going to back you up.'"

Pecoraro offered some encouraging words for his ace starter as well.

"That (second inning) was the worst I've seen him," Pecoraro said. "I told him, 'What's happened there's nothing you can do about it. Just focus on what's coming ahead. Keep battling, focus on what's next.' He settled in nicely."

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