Baseball: Allen's gem gives Hersey MSL title
That's what Friday's Mid Suburban baseball championship game in Barrington was as it was completed in just an hour and seven minutes.
Hersey had just enough crackle to pop off a 1-0 victory over Barrington in a game that featured terrific pitching and defense on both sides.
With the win, Hersey (23-8) captured their first MSL title since 2012, when they beat Fremd.
"We executed when we needed to," said Hersey coach Wally Brownley, who was an under level coach at Hersey.
"It was a great win for us and I am proud of our guys. Both pitchers were co-players of the year in their divisions for a reason. Jeremy (Allen) just pounding the zone and getting all three pitches over for strikes was good."
Barrington (21-11-1) lost its third consecutive MSL championship game. The Broncos lost the previous two appearances to Buffalo Grove. All three losses were by one run.
"It was a great baseball game and we were glad to be part of it," Barrington coach Pat Wire said. "I am proud of these guys. We have nothing to be ashamed of. It was great pitched game by both pitchers."
It was a dual for the ages as Hersey pitcher Jeremy Allen and Barrington pitcher Nick Lacson both came into the game unbeaten.
Both were spectacular as their pitching gave each of their teams a chance it win.
Allen (8-0) did not allow a hit until the fifth inning. He struck out five and walked two and only allowed two base runners as far as second base.
His fastball was clocked twice hitting 90 while his curveball was deadly, keeping Barrington's hitter off balance.
"I thought this was best outing this season, even though I didn't get a lot of strikeouts," said Allen, who threw 89 pitches, 57 for strikes.
"I was pitching to contact. I was scouting them out on Monday when we played them. I realized that they were way out in front of the curve ball. I thought I might as well try it and it worked today."
Brownley said that his junior right-hander has been dominant all season.
"He has been lights out for us all season," Brownley said. "He obviously has overpowering stuff. But we also told him to pitch to contact because we have a great defense behind him."
Lacson (7-1) was nearly as effective.
The senior allowed just two hits. He struck out four and didn't allow a walk. He also retired the final 17 batters he faced.
"I just had two mistakes in that second inning," Lacson said. "They got guys on and came through and we didn't. But I am proud of the way I pitched."
Hersey actually got momentum for their only run while Barrington was batting on the bottom of the first.
Center fielder Connor Kave tracked down a swooping hit ball that tailed away from him. The senior dove and came up with the incredible catch to take away an extra-base hit.
"My dad told me before the game that one pitch could change the course of the game," said Kave, who would have five putouts in center.
"I was thinking how could I set the tone. The ball was creeping away from me and I think I could get the team on my back if I lay out for this ball."
Kave did just that.
Sparked by Kave's play, Brandon Pflomm hit a sharp single to right center to lead off the second. Drew Phillips followed with a sacrifice bunt and then David Denten singled up the middle with Pflomm stopping at third.
He wasn't there long. Keegan Luxen brought him home with a long sacrifice fly to right to bring Pflomm home with the only run.
"I get all the confidence in the world when I see a play like that," Allen said. "I know it is a no fly-zone and I can pitch to contact and not reach my pitch limit and I can stay in and pitch the entire game."
Both teams will have a couple of nonconference games before the state playoffs begin next week. Barrington and Hersey could be on a collision course in the sectionals should they win their respective regionals.
Barrington is the second-seed in the Mundelein sectional. They will host Hoffman Estates in their regional next Wednesday.
Hersey, which got off to slow start this season, is the sixth seed. The Huskies will play Rolling Meadows Thursday at the Warren regional.