Baseball: Hersey's sixth-inning rally beats Barrington
Jeremy Allen isn't used to slow starts.
But when the Hersey flamethrower settled down, he was nearly untouchable as Hersey rallied for a 6-1 win over Barrington Thursday in the semifinals of the Class 4A Mundelein sectional. It was the third time Hersey beat the Broncos this season.
Hersey (26-8), which has won 12 in a row, will meet Stevenson in Saturday's sectional final at 11 a.m.
"I couldn't be any more proud of them," Hersey coach Wally Brownley said. "These guys are so incredible. There is no quit. They just fight. And Jeremy Allen is a bulldog."
Allen (10-0), who set a school record with his 10th win of the season, got off to an unusually slow start. The junior came back and allowed just one hit while striking out 14. He threw 116 pitches, 70 for strikes.
"After the first inning I was all over the place," said Allen, who pitched all seven innings. "I got out it and then just pounded the zone."
Barrington (24-13) scored its first run in three games against Hersey in the bottom of the first.
The Broncos' Brendan Beals led off the game with a single. It would be the only hit Barrington would have on the day.
Beals then stole second and went to third on an error. He would then score on a wild pitch to give Barrington a 1-0 lead.
Barrington almost struck again in the second. The Broncos parlayed a hit batter, an error and sacrifice bunt into second and third with one out.
Allen struck out the next two batters to end the threat. From there, he allowed just two baserunners, both on walks.
"I was more relaxed out there in the later innings," said Allen, who got strikeouts for eight of the final nine outs of the game.
"And especially when we got that lead. In the last inning, I felt real confident."
Both Allen and Barrington pitcher Nick Lacson would battle again from the bump. It was like a sequel to the Mid-Suburban League title game two weeks ago when Allen beat the Broncos 1-0.
It appeared that Thursday would be Lacson's turn at 1-0 victory thanks to some solid pitching and defense behind him.
Hersey had an opportunity to tie the game in the fifth when they had runners on the corners with one out. But a terrific play by Barrington shortstop Beals started up an inning-ending double play.
The Huskies finally found their way in the sixth.
"I said that the sixth inning was our inning," Brownley said. "I felt we were ready to break through. I just wish they wouldn't have waited so long because my blood pressure and I don't need any more gray hairs."
Brownley was prophetic, with his team sending 11 batters to the plate in the inning and scoring six runs.
Bryk Barnard walked and courtesy runner Brady Klehr advanced to third on a wild pitch and a long fly ball. With two outs and two strikes, Will Hickey drilled a shot just past the diving Beals to tie the game.
"I knew it was going to get through," Hickey said. "I got a good barrel on it. The adrenaline was then up and the boys were ready to go."
Chuck Meister followed with a single. And when Hickey beat the throw to third, Meister moved up to second. Hersey then loaded the bases on an intentional walk to Brandon Pflomm.
With two strikes on him, Drew Phillips lofted a long fly to right center that dropped in for a double, scoring two runs to make it 3-1.
"I'm not going to lie, it was up there a long time," Phillips said. "When I rounded first, I saw it drop in. I knew I had to get to second and get the team fired up."
David Denten got his second hit of the game when he singled in a pair of runs to increase the lead to 5-1. Keegan Luxem followed with a triple to center scoring Denten to make it 6-1.
Barrington was able to only get one base runner in the final two innings,
"We were doing fine early," Barrington coach Pat Wire said. "We just didn't capitalize and get some hits. We had some good defensive plays and Lacson was great and gave us a chance to win. But we need to catch the ball in the outfield and both of their big hits came with two strikes."