Elk Grove Wins MSL Championship Behind Christian Camacho



By Colin Sallee
Area Scout

ELK GROVE, IL – A scorching fourth inning and a stellar pitching performance from MSL East Player of the Year, Christian Camacho, propelled the Grenadiers of Elk Grove past the MSL West champion Barrington Broncos, cementing the MSL East champion’s second straight Mid Suburban League championship with an 8-3 victory.

The game featured waves of action on both sides of the baseball, none more significant than the fourth inning, which saw the Grens (21-8) bang out seven runs and seven of their 15 total hits against Barrington’s (23-9) ace, and fellow MSL Player of the Year (West), Anthony DeLaurentis.

Entering the fourth inning, you wouldn’t have known that this Elk Grove bunch was trailing 3-0 without looking at the scoreboard. This positive demeanor came as no surprise to Head Coach Terry Beyna and his staff, who had every reason to believe their team would not go away quietly.

“I think fighting back a week ago was absolutely huge when you consider what happened today,” said Beyna when asked about his team’s 9-6 home loss last week against Barrington in a game where they trailed 8-0 late in the contest.

“We weren’t exactly playing for anything, but we made that a game. We were down 3-0 earlier in this game and the vibe in our dugout was pretty good. As long as Christian kept it there, we would give him a chance.”

Camacho’s complete game performance was outstanding, as he struck out four, walked one, plunked two, and surrendered two earned runs; pushing his record on the season to 9-2.

The two-way player, who was the team’s second basemen during his sophomore campaign, has been sharp all year, boasting a 2.10 ERA while striking out 90 over his 77 innings pitched.

 The junior also went 2-for-4 at the dish and scored a run, adding to his .389 batting average in conference play.

“My team really helped me. They said we got you and I believed them,” Camacho said while holding back a massive grin.

Camacho showed solid command of three pitches throughout his start.

The fastball featured arm side run, sitting 81-84 mph, and was matched by a sharp curveball that he threw whenever he wanted in the 68-72 mph range, keeping a potent Barrington offense off balance all day.

“I knew I’d throw strikes, give my guys some chances, and they made plays for me. The seven spot we threw up in the fourth was a huge boost. I gained some confidence and really just found a rhythm from there on out.”

The defense was solid behind Camacho, as all four infield starters showed some range, making a few tough plays throughout the game.

One in particular coming in the fifth, when senior second basemen Chuck Fleming left his feet to stab a ball heading towards center field, and forcing a runner out at second base for the second out of the inning, a play that would’ve put runners on the corners with less than two outs.

The gigantic fourth inning was started by the right handed hitting senior, Fleming, who finished the day 3-for-4 with 2 RBI and a run scored, scorched a ball to left field, setting fire to the Grens offense. His teammates would follow suit, with line shots from senior centerfielder Brandon Post and junior first basemen Jack McEnroe to put the Grens on the board.

The breakthrough of the inning came when senior left fielder Taylor O’Connor smacked a one-out, opposite field double to the left field corner, plating two runs, tying the game, and confirming his head coach’s sentiments about the team’s resolve. O’Connor, who hit ninth in the lineup, was 2-for-3 on the day with two RBI.

“We knew they had guys in the lineup that could swing it, one through nine,” said Beyna. “We knew we had a similar order, but I’m not sure they did. Our bottom half of the order snuck up on them today and put some good swings on the ball.”

The seven, eight, and nine trio of junior shortstop AJ Lorenz, senior catcher Sean Fege, and the previously mentioned O’Connor were a combined 7-for-9 with three RBI.

Barrington wouldn’t have an answer after their active third inning, as only five players would reach base over the last four frames.

Their offense was provided by senior catcher Casey Dodge who went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Only one other hitter reached base more than once for the Barrington lineup, a testament to Camacho’s excellence.

“He’s been great for us all year,” said Beyna.

“To be a junior with no varsity experience on the mound prior to this year, and pitch like he has for us says a lot about the kind of player he is now and the kind of player he can become.”

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