Baseball: Big fourth inning sends St. Charles East past Schaumburg for regional crown
There wasn't the least bit of panic.
Trailing ninth-seeded Schaumburg 3-1 after 3 1/2 innings, top-seeded St. Charles East rallied for 4 runs in the bottom of the fourth.
The result was a 5-3 win for the Saints in the Class 4A Glenbard West regional championship game Saturday morning at Village Green Park in Glen Ellyn.
The Saints (28-4) advance to the South Elgin sectional at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday hosted by Judson University against the winner of York/South Elgin. The Saxons end the season with a 16-13 mark.
"When we got down I knew we had plenty of game left," said St. Charles East coach Len Asquini, who will retire at the end of the season. "We had great situational hitting in the fourth. We maximized our opportunities."
In the pivotal fourth, Seth Winkler, Mike Sharko and Nick Miller all singled to load the bases with nobody out. Miller reached on a perfectly placed bunt. Eddie Herrera lined a double down the left-field line to tie the score at 3. Both Jake Greenspan and Joe Arend lofted sacrifice flies to give the Saints a 2-run cushion.
"We have been working on situational hitting a lot the last two weeks," said Herrera. "I got a fastball and was patient. I got a barrel on the ball. We want to have a great season for coach."
Winkler pitched the first 3 innings for the Saints. He gave up 2 runs on 3 hits with 6 strikeouts and 3 walks.
Asquini replaced Winkler with Caden Cotteleer in the fourth inning. Cotteleer, who earned the win in relief, struggled in the fourth giving up 3 walks and an unearned run. The Saints reliever had 3 strikeouts in the inning.
Cotteleer settled down and pitched 2 solid innings allowing only 1 single with 2 strikeouts.
"I had a lot of nerves coming into the game," said Cotteleer. "I knew I had to settle down and stop the bleeding. My two-seamer was really working and tailing out. Eddie (Herrera) and I were on the same page. We had a good pitch sequence."
James Brennan gave up 1 single without allowing a run in the seventh to register the save. Brennan struck out Nathan Barnitz to end the game and give the Saints the regional crown.
Along with the unearned run in the fourth, the Saxons scored 2 in the third courtesy of a 2-run double by Zachary Miller.
"We competed and gave great effort," said Schaumburg coach Nick Kostalek. "We had our chances. We had runners on base every inning. St. Charles (East) could make a long run."