Baseball: Maine South closes in on Central Suburban South crown
It was a commanding night for Maine South Thursday at Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg.
The Hawks blasted Evanston 10-0 in five innings while banging out 14 hits. The win put Maine South in a terrific position to win the Central Suburban South.
With the win, Maine South (21-8, 12-1) swept Evanston this season and have nearly eliminated the Wildkits (16-5, 8-3).
The Hawks have just three games remaining. They play Highland Park on Saturday and have a pair of games with New Trier. A win in any of those games will give them the title.
"We can hit a little bit," Maine South coach Brian Lorenz said. "We will see how it goes. Our goal isn't to win conference, our goal is to get ready for a playoff run."
Maine South took a quick 2-0 lead thanks to a trio of consecutive hits and some nifty base running.
Andrew Randazzo singled to left and Charlie Schau followed with a bunt single. Noah Collins then had a single to center, driving home Randazzo and sending Schau to third.
With two outs, Collins walked off first base. When he drew a throw to second, Schau raced down the line and just beat the throw home for the second run.
The Hawks added another run in the second. Joe Ward doubled, went to third on Liam Maloney's sacrifice bunt and scored on a wild pitch.
The Hawks put the game away in their next inning, sending 10 batters up and scoring five runs thanks to seven hits. Six of those hits came consecutively after two were out.
Schau and Ward each tripled while Arran Barliant, Maloney, Ben Labutka, Kerim Orucevic and Randazzo all singled.
"I was hitting the ball well," Ward said. "It felt good. The whole team was hitting well. The boys were hot and the bats were going."
The Hawks pushed across a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a pair of hits and a couple of Evanston errors to make it 10-0.
Every Maine South player had a hit with Orucevic, Randazzo, Schau, Collins and Ward each with two hits.
"It is the hard work I have been doing," said Collins, who drove in a pair of runs. "This past offseason I fixed up a couple of things. It came together today,"
It was the second consecutive dominant pitching performance by Maine South against Evanston, which did not score a run against the Hawks.
On Tuesday, Braden Quinn threw a five-hit shutout in a 4-0 win.
On Thursday, it was Drew Koenen's turn. He allowed just four hits and struck out five. The Hawks also turned a pair of double plays behind him.
"We were talking before the game," Koenen said. "He gave up five hits and I gave up four tonight. It was easier with 10 runs behind me. The slaughter rule was perfect."
Maine South, which picked up the top seed in the its Class 4A sectional, is hoping to get back to Boomers Stadium in June. That is the site of their supersectional.
"That's why I rent this out," Lorenz said. "I tell the boys that too. You want to play here someday when there are actual people in the seats. We are gelling at the right time."