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