No. 14 Mundelein Walks Off Cary-Grove In A Wild Regional Semi

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

No. 14 Mundelein hosted Cary-Grove on Friday afternoon in a 4A Regional Semi-final matchup. In what turned out to be a wild game, Mundelein came out on top, walking off Cary-Grove in the bottom of the seventh for a 16-15 win.

Mundelein (22-4-1) had a comfortable 14-6 lead heading into the top of the seventh inning, needing just three outs to advance to the Regional Finals on Monday. Cary-Grove (11-9) had other ideas however, mounting a huge comeback, putting up nine total runs in the frame, eventually taking a 15-14 lead into the bottom of the seventh. In the frame, Cary-Grove collected eight hits and 10 hitters in a row reached base safely at one point. Ryan Weaver, who had two hits in the frame, delivered the game-tying hit, a line-drive single to left field. A fielder's choice by Toby Splitt gave Cary-Grove their first lead of the game at 15-14. 

After the wild top half of the seventh, senior Jack Bikus was hit-by-a-pitch with one out and Daniel Pacella followed up with a walk for Mundelein. Cristian Santiago then hit a fly ball into shallow right-field that, despite a diving attempt by the right-fielder, landed safely for a single. Alertly, the right-fielder got up, threw a strike to third base and created a bang-bang play at third due to the runner having to hold up not knowing if the fly ball was going to be caught. After a brief conference between the umpires, the runner was officially ruled safe, giving Mundelein the bases loaded with one out, down a run. Junior Tommy Stricklin wasted little time grounding a ball up the middle that got by the shortstop, allowing two runs to score easily and giving Mundelein the walk-off win. 

All told the game saw 31 hits, six errors, eight walks, three home runs and 31 total runs, depending on how you're scoring. The Mustangs of Mundelein were seemingly in total control for most of the game until the final inning. Mundelein scored in every inning but the fifth and put up a crooked number in five of the seven innings. Cary-Grove scored two runs in each of the second, third and fourth innings and then put up the nine spot in the seventh.

Before the walk-off single in the seventh, the biggest inning for Mundelein was a five-run second inning. Michael Rastrelli led off the inning with a double down the left-field line, Bikus later drove a bases clearing triple to right-center field and tried to make it an inside the park home run but was thrown out at the plate. Pacella added his second extra-base hit of the day (homered in the first inning), a double into left-center field. 

Sophomore Bennett Musser got the ball for Mundelein and battled despite a tough day to pitch. Musser ended up striking out five in his 5.1 innings pitched. Musser showed a loose, live arm from a ¾ slot and sat 84-85 mph with his fastball getting late run and sink at times. He went frequently to his changeup as his preferred secondary option showing above-average feel for it at 75-76 mph. Musser is a young upside arm to follow moving forward.


+ Drew Wellington (Mundelein): 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, BB, 2 R, RBI
+ Jack Bikus (Mundelein): 3-for-3, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, 2 R, SB
+ Daniel Pacella (Mundelein): 2-for-3, HR, 2B, 4 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB
+ Cristian Santiago (Mundelein): 2-for-5, 2 2B, RBI, R
+ Tommy Stricklin (Mundelein): 2-for-4, 3B, 4 RBI, 2 R, BB
+ Brett Green (Cary-Grove): 2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
+ Ryan Weaver (Cary-Grove): 3-for-5, HR,
+ Toby Splitt (Cary-Grove): 3-for-5, 2 R, RBI, SB
+ Steve Churak (Cary-Grove): 2-for-2, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB
+ Bobby Jannusch (Cary-Grove): 3-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 R

No. 14 Mundelein will host No. 11 Barrington on Monday in the Regional Finals.

For more in-depth notes from the games - and all other games that we cover - visit the Illinois Scout Blog.