Baseball: Prospect falls short in supersectional
For Prospect baseball coach Ross Giusti it always about the learning.
So when his team had lost three consecutive games in the final week of the Mid-Suburban League regular season to fall short of playing in the MSL title game, Giusti wondered aloud if his team could learn something from that experience.
The Knights did.
Giusti's young squad rattled off four consecutive victories to earn a spot in Monday's Class 4A supersectional against Hononegah. But the streak ended for Prospect as it lost 9-7 to the Indians at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg.
Hononegah (26-2) will meet Plainfield East in Saturday's state semifinal at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet.
The Knights led early, but then fell behind 9-4. Prospect made a late rally, but just couldn't get all the way back.
"This team was resilient all year," Giusti said. "We came from behind from 10 runs one time this season. It is a tribute to these kids. They had a great season and nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone is just so proud of the way these kids played this year."
Prospect (22-8) got off to a terrific start in the top of the first, taking a 3-0 lead.
Peyton Burgh walked and Brady Jensen was hit by a pitch, setting the table for Ethan Rossi. The senior delivered a triple down the right field line. Rossi then would score when Hononegah failed to turn a double play on Cole Lannert's fielder's choice.
The lead didn't last long when Hononegah's Noah Goddard belted a 3-run homer in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 3-3.
Prospect regained the lead in the third.
Jensen walked and stole second. He then went to third on Tyler Ciulla's fielder's choice and scored on Kyle Odeshoo's single to left to make it 4-3.
Hononegah did damage to the Knights in the bottom of the inning. The Indians struck for 3 runs and could have scored more. Jensen made a nice line drive catch at short with runners on second and third to end the inning with the Knights trailing 6-4.
Hononegah hit the Knights with another 3-spot in the fourth to build a 9-4 lead.
Prospect chipped its way for a pair of runs in the fifth to cut the margin to 9-6. With two outs, Ciulla doubled home Jensen, who had walked. Courtesy runner Cade Cory then scored on Odeshoo's bloop single to center.
Prospect continued to rally, again with two outs.
Jake Bush singled and scored on Burgh's double to make it 9-7. Jensen followed with an infield single. But the size of the ballpark got to Rossi, who drilled a 390-foot drive to dead center where it was caught just 10 feet from the fence for the final out.
It was great run by the Knights, who started six underclassmen, had eight seniors and finished tied for the MSL East title.
"It is amazing what these kids did," Giusti said. "We have a lot of kids coming back with some experience. But our seniors hung in there all year. They were tremendous role models and they have really set the tone for this program."
There was a large contingent of Prospect fans that made the trip to Schaumburg. That included a large student section.
"It was amazing community support," Giusti said. "We can't thank this crowd enough."