Bizarre finish gives Grayslake North extra-inning win over Wauconda
With temperatures barely at 40 degrees at the start of the game, it was certainly less than ideal playing conditions when host Grayslake North faced Wauconda on the baseball diamond Wednesday.
But the way that this Northern Lake County Conference contest ended was even stranger as the host Knights pulled out a 4-3 NLCC victory over the Bulldogs in 8 innings.
Wauconda (11-8, 5-3) had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth on a fielder's choice RBI by sophomore Tyler Tylka as junior teammate Zachary Threde scored the go-ahead run after starting the rally by getting hit by a pitch with 1 out against winning pitcher Garrett Moore.
Grayslake North (8-8-1, 5-2) got a single from Jacob Donohue to lead off the bottom of the eighth against Wauconda reliever Ryan Fostiak, before a walk by Ethan Feldman and an intentional walk to Grant Garrett loaded the bases with no outs.
Then, Marcus Gawerecki hit a grounder to third base and the throw to home plate hit Donohue in the back resulting in Donohue scoring to tie the game at 3-3.
Then came the big shocker as Riley Lam tried to check his swing on a full-count pitch as Lam clearly went too far and did not check his swing. But the home plate umpire called ball four before Wauconda appealed to the base umpire who said it was strike three.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Feldman had already crossed home plate with the winning run after it looked like Lam should have immediately been called out on strikes.
So in spite of Wauconda's protests to the umpires to overturn the call and resume play with the bases loaded and 1 out, the umpires ruled that the winning run scored before the Bulldogs appealed the strike-three call resulting in the Knights victory.
"I've never seen anything like it, I've never seen a game end like that and it's quite unique," Wauconda coach Clayton Kovac said. "Baseball is a game where anything can happen as we just witnessed, but it was a big conference loss for us. They made the call that there is no time out while appealing, and they said he (Gawerecki) stole home on that based on ball four when my catcher could have just held the ball if they appealed and someone was coming down the line."
The Knights scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first before RBI singles by Josh Efflandt, and Colin Christensen put Wauconda up 2-1 in the top of the fifth.
"I've never seen anything like that, the home plate ump called it a ball, and by the time they appealed, he (Gawerecki) had already crossed home," said Grayslake North coach Brett Hill, whose team lost 5-4 to Wauconda on Tuesday. "It's a tough way to see a game end, but I told our kids we had a tough loss yesterday and today it was a great job by both pitchers."
Starter Casey Staver pitched 5 solid innings for the Knights, while Wauconda starter Danny Newman logged 6 strong innings on the mound.