Baseball: Lake Park's rally falls short in state title game

  • Lake Park coach Dan Colucci delivers the second place trophy to his team captains including Jackson Kent (22) on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet, Ill. The Bengals defeated the Lancers 6-5.

    Lake Park coach Dan Colucci delivers the second place trophy to his team captains including Jackson Kent (22) on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet, Ill. The Bengals defeated the Lancers 6-5. Geoff Stellfox/Shaw Media

  • Lake Park infielder Giacomo Fanizza makes a catch at third on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet, Ill. The Bengals defeated the Lancers 6-5.

    Lake Park infielder Giacomo Fanizza makes a catch at third on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet, Ill. The Bengals defeated the Lancers 6-5. Geoff Stellfox/Shaw Media

  • Lake Park pitcher Jason Gutkowski winds up on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet, Ill. The Bengals defeated the Lancers 6-5.

    Lake Park pitcher Jason Gutkowski winds up on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet, Ill. The Bengals defeated the Lancers 6-5. Geoff Stellfox/Shaw Media

  • Lake Park players cheer on Mason Baer as he crosses home plate after hitting a home run on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet, Ill. The Bengals defeated the Lancers 6-5.

    Lake Park players cheer on Mason Baer as he crosses home plate after hitting a home run on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet, Ill. The Bengals defeated the Lancers 6-5. Geoff Stellfox/Shaw Media

  • Lake Park players cheer Chris Worcester as he slides into home on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet, Ill. The Bengals defeated the Lancer 6-5.

    Lake Park players cheer Chris Worcester as he slides into home on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet, Ill. The Bengals defeated the Lancer 6-5. Geoff Stellfox/Shaw Media

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 6/19/2021 10:14 PM

Lake Park just ran out of gas.

The Lancers played an 8-inning semifinal game earlier in the day Saturday. They couldn't get themselves into gear until late in the Class 4A state championship game and fell to Plainfield East 6-5 at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet.

 

It was a difficult end to a great season for Lake Park (35-5).

"It was a long road," said Lake Park coach Dan Colucii, whose teams have been to the state finals two of the last three seasons.

"We played great baseball all year. I have to give our guys credit of not giving up. This was a long day for them and they never quit."

While Lake Park was running near empty, Plainfield East (19-15) was on high octane. The Bengals entered the state playoffs as the 13th-seed in their regional and had lost their final three games. They got hot at the right time, winning their final seven games.

The Bengals jumped to a 4-0 lead after two innings and increased it to 6-0 after five innings and appeared to be in command,

But this is a senior-dominated Lake Park that wasn't to just go away.

Lake Park rallied for five runs in its half of the sixth to cut the margin to 6-5, scoring four of those runs with two outs.

Giacomo Fanizza doubled and scored on an error. With two outs, Nick Wolf singled and Mason Baer followed with a homer to left to make it 6-3.

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Danny Rollins and Chris Worcester each singled and both scored on Jackson Kent's double to the left field corner to make it 6-5. Kent would advance to third on a passed ball, but was stranded there, one of 9 runners left on base, 6 in scoring position.

"We had guys on base nearly every inning," Colucci said. "We just couldn't come up with the big hit."

Lake Park advanced to the title game in a thrilling 6-5 win over O'Fallon in 8 innings. Fanizza, who had 3 hits in the game, singled home Tommy Klco in the bottom of the eighth to get the win for the Lancers.

Lake Park had rallied from a 3-2 deficit to score three runs in the bottom of the fifth to surge ahead 5-3. The Lancers were able to pull ahead as Fricano scored on a sacrifice fly, Baer on a wild pitch and Rollins on an error.

The Lancers were one out away in the top of the seventh when a passed ball, wild pitch and an error led to two O'Fallon runs, tying the game.

"It is every kid's dream to get these hits," said Fanizza, who is a senior and had five hits on the day. "It was a crazy run for us. We have been playing together for what seems like forever. It just shows how we came together as a team."

Klco, who picked up the win in relief in the first game, said his team battled in both games.

"It was hot on the turf and a lot of us were cramping up," Klco said. "We came out here and gave it our all. We did everything we could."

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