Baseball: Soukup's clutch hit caps Palatine's wild win over Fremd

By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/9/2022 9:29 PM

Palatine's Charlie Soukup was barely dirty.

But his teammates made sure he got a shower anyway.


Soukup, who was inserted into lineup in the top of the seventh, delivered a walk-off double in the bottom of the inning to lift Palatine past crosstown rival Fremd 9-8 Monday in Palatine.

"I just wanted to enjoy the moment," said Soukup, who was rewarded with shower from his teammates.

"I knew it right away that it was over the right fielder's head. I am just happy I got the win for the boys."

Palatine (14-7-1, 7-5) rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh for the win. It gave Joe Wagner, who came on in relief as part of the switch that got Soukup in the game, the win.

"He has been in and out of the lineup and has struggled," Palatine coach Paul Belo said. "He just found a way to compete. He comes in with a smile on his face and works hard in the weight room. It was huge hit."

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It was a wild game that featured six lead changes before a large and boisterous crowd. That included three in the final three at-bats for both teams.

Fremd (12-11, 9-4) which with the loss fell out of a first-place tie with Barrington in the MSL West, scored twice in the top of the first. James Phillip doubled home Quinn Nelson and Phillip would score from second on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.

Palatine came back for a run in its half of the first on back-to-back doubles by D.J. Dick and Danny Hopper. The Pirates then surged ahead 4-2 in the second thanks a singles by Paul Bloomquist and Thomas Coroneos, a pair of Fremd errors and a sacrifice fly by Colin Meehan.

Fremd scored two runs in each of the next two innings to pull ahead 5-4.

Nelson singled and scored on Yuhki Yamada's double. Yamada would later score on an error. Nico Crocilla doubled home Brayden Mosely and Crocilla would later score on Tommy Jusi's single.

Fremd added a run in the sixth when Crocilla would score on Nelson's hit to make it 6-4.

Palatine then got the break they needed to pull ahead 7-6. They were able to do that thanks to Viking error on a solidly struck ground ball by Dick that allowed three runs to score.


But Fremd, which had won its last two games by one-run, still had something left.

Phillip hit a wind-aided home run to tie the game. Then, Yamada would reach on a pop-up that dropped in thanks to friendly breezes. He would score on a balk to make it 8-7. The Vikings then would leave the bases loaded after one out to open the door for the Pirates.

Nate Branch and Aidan Wilmer would single to lead off the inning. Bloomquist, who was 3-for-3 at the time, was asked to bunt to move the runners over. Bloomquist did just that, but shot the ball just past the pitcher and was able to reach first for his fourth hit of the game.

"This is what we do," Bloomquist said. "I just wanted to get it down. It wasn't a great bunt. I got lucky and bunted it right over him."

Erik Fallin followed with a long fly to left, scoring Branch. And with runners at first and second for the Pirates, Soukup drilled a shot over the head of the Fremd right fielder for the game-winner.

"Both teams capitalized on mistakes by each team's defense," Belo said. "We did some nice things and I thought our little ball played well. It was just so back and forth it feels like a 15-round championship."

Fremd coach Chris Piggott said that errors and the inability to capitalize were key.

"It came down to execution," Piggott said. "We had seven errors. We competed, we just made too many mistakes and didn't execute."

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