3A Super Sectional: Seven In the Seventh Sends Nazareth to Joliet

Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor - Illinois/Wisconsin

Nazareth Academy 10
Antioch 9

NAPERVILLE, IL - There’s been some thrilling finishes in this year’s IHSA playoffs and Monday’s 3A Super Sectional at North Central College has to be in the conversation for most dramatic. Both Nazareth Academy and Antioch came in as three seeds winning their sectionals and hoping for a ticket to Joliet in the final four.

Let’s get right to the seventh inning - Antioch had complete control of this contest for six innings, scoring at least one tally in each of the first six frames leading to a commanding 9-3 lead headed into the seventh inning. Senior RHP Colin Wieska had held the Roadrunners to three runs on six hits and needed just three outs to complete the game and send the Sequoits to Joliet. Not so fast…

Needing at least six runs with three outs left to keep their season alive, Nazareth got their final frame started on the right foot. A leadoff triple by Zach Carmignani was followed up by a two-run homerun to right off the bat of Andrew McKenna. A good start, but still an uphill battle facing now a four run deficit, 9-5.

Still with no outs, Wieska lost control and walked the next two batters putting the tying run on deck, and leading to an Antioch pitching change. The Sequoits made the call to centerfield to bring in junior outfielder Austin Andrews. Joseph Trelenberg greeted Andrews with a base hit and loaded the bases for first baseman Julian Lopez , the potential tying run. Andrews uncorked a couple of wild pitches to the imposing Lopez, leading to two more Roadrunner runs, now making it a 9-7 deficit, with a runner at third and the tying run in Lopez at the plate. Lopez coaxed the walk, but not before an Andrews balk unloaded the bases and brought Nazareth within one.

Seven batters into the inning, and Andrews got the first out of the inning with a strikeout to give the Sequoits a breather and a still a chance of holding on to the win. But the second Andrews balk of the inning moved the tying run into scoring position for the Roadrunners and nine-hole Michael Milano drew a walk to turn over the lineup.

Dominic Milano was Nazareth’s first chance to tie things up, but the third Antioch pitcher of the inning, Austin Delgado, got him to fly out to left holding the tying run at second base. Hanging on to their lead by the skin of their teeth, Antioch was on the verge of hanging on, but the stage was set for Carmignani, who started the inning with a leadoff triple and already two hits on the day. Carmignani didn’t waste much time and drove an outside fastball to right field scoring the tying run and sending the Nazareth dugout into a frenzy. With still work to be done, Delgado got McKenna to ground to short, but SS Tyler Skutnik couldn’t handle it and the go-ahead run scored giving Nazareth a 10-9 lead and capping a remarkable seven run seventh inning.

Nazareth still had three outs to get to keep their seven-run seventh the headline of this story, and Ryan Turgeon was in his fifth inning of relief work out of the pen. Turgeon walked the leadoff batter giving Antioch something to work with. Turgeon got a big strikeout for the first out of the inning after a failed slash attempt leaving the tying run at first. Sean Weiser picked up the Sequoits dugout with a double to left field, putting runners at second and third with one out and a chance for Antioch to tie it. Coach Milano decided to intentionally walk leadoff hitter John Petty, who was a homerun away from the cycle at that point, to load the bases for Patrick Day. With one out, Day lifted a fly ball to shallow left center, that kept carrying into the outfield, but not deep enough to tag from third base. Still with the bases loaded, and now two outs, Turgeon got three-hole hitter Colin Wieska to strikeout and start the Nazareth dogpile on the mound.

The comeback win punches Nazareth’s ticket to Joliet joining Morton, St. Ignatius and Triad as the final four teams in 3A.

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