SCHAUMBURG – The West Chicago student section finally had something to cheer about in the top of the seventh inning of Wednesday’s IHSA Class 4A Schaumburg Sectional semifinal between their school and Batavia.
West Chicago had loaded the bases and was threatening Batavia’s 4-1 lead.
The students stood, clapped and cheered as leadoff hitter Austin Kordik came to the plate with two outs. The noise intensified as Kordik fouled off two pitches, the first one missing being fair by inches.
Batavia pitcher Jacob Piechota silenced the student section and ended the game with a low and and away fastball for a called strike three.
The Bulldogs advance to Saturday’s sectional final and will face the winner of today’s game between St. Charles North and South Elgin.
Top-seeded Batavia (32-3-1) appeared to have the game in hand in the seventh, as two of the first three batters were retired. In between the two outs, Peyton Siedler was hit by a pitch. The West Chicago fans began to stir as Grant Hosticka reached base on an error and Ryan Grant followed with a single to load the bases.
After Kordik’s first foul ball, Batavia coach Matt Holm came out to the mound for a conference.
“I was trying to caution him on the foul balls. The last one was barely foul and we needed to make sure that we are working in on the batter and then working away,” Holm said. “[Piechota] was doing it with breaking balls. So the fastball at the end was perfect.”
“I had some extra adrenaline. I really wanted this game,” Piechota said. “Jeremy [Schoessling] made an error but that was uncharacteristic of him. We picked him up as a team and finished up the ballgame.”
Piechota dominated the Wildcats in the first six innings. He struck out five, issued no walks and gave up five hits for his seventh win of the season against one loss.
West Chicago (18-18) sent more than four batters to the plate in only two innings.
After Piechota gave up back-to-back singles in the top of the third, he retired seven batters in row. Hosticka, who had the first single in the third, scored his team’s only run on a groundout .
Hosticka's one-out single in the fifth broke the string. He was quickly erased as Grant, the next batter, hit a grounder back to Piechota for 1-6-3 double play.
Batavia jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Laren Eustace hit the first pitch he saw from West Chicago starting pitcher Fred Gosbeth over the right field fence for a home run.
"It felt really good,” Eustace said about his fourth leadoff home run of the year. “A lot of times you know when it’s going out, and that was one of them.”
Schoessling followed by drawing the only walk of the day. After advancing to second on a failed pick off attempt, Schoessling scored on Micah Coffey’s single to center.
“I don’t know if it was nerves or what but we got behind early you can’t do that against a team like Batavia,” West Chicago coach Dan McCarthy said. “They [Batavia] are just so solid. They just don’t make mistakes.”
The Bulldogs added a run in the second and fourth innings in winning their 23rd straight game.
“I was pleased." Holm said. "We led from the beginning and played solid defense. It got a little scary at the end.”