No. 3 SHG survives Grayslake Central to advance to 3A title game

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

JOLIET – No. 3 Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin received a colossal scare from Grayslake Central in the Class 3A state semifinal game Friday. But the Cyclones dodged disaster when Cole Daily was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give SHG a 3-2 victory in 10 innings at Silver Cross Field.

The Cycones (38-3) now advance to play No. 2 Lemont in the Class 3A state championship game Saturday.

“Wow, what an exciting game,” said SHG coach Mike Eck said. “I didn’t know if that game would ever end.”

Both teams had their chances to score, but ultimately the Cyclones got some help from Grayslake Central (29-11). With one out, Kevin Zanger walked innocently enough. After a flyout, Nolan Aherin and Sean Mason both walked to load up the bases for leadoffman Daily, who had three hits in the game. Daily, though, didn’t need to swing the bat, as junior left-hander Justin Guryn, who had pitched extremely well out of relief, plunked Daily in the shoulder for the game-winning run.

Leading 2-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, it looked as though SHG was on its way to victory. Grayslake Central DH Mike Stone delivered an innocent one-out single, but quickly advanced to second base on a throwing error on the catcher trying to back-pick him. After a groundout advanced Stone to third base, Jonathan Hoffman chopped a grounder that caught the third baseman on the short-hop and he couldn’t handle it, and Stone raced home to tie the game.

Grayslake Central came out hot against SHG ace right-hander Connor Etheridge, taking a 1-0 lead on Kyle Clark’s RBI single, scoring Hoffman, who had walked to lead off the game. The Rams actually loaded up the bases in the first, too, but couldn’t push any more runs across.

Meanwhile, Grayslake Central David Llorens brought a shutout into the fifth inning before SHG broke through with two runs. Aherin’s RBI single tied the game at 1-1, and Conor White ripped a run-scoring triple to the right-field wall to give the Cyclones a 2-1 advantage.

Aherin finished with two hits, a run and a RBI, while White had a double and a triple. Daily finished 3-for-5. Etheridge pitched nine solid innings, yielding seven hits, two runs, one earned with six strikeouts and two walks, but got the no-decision. Pete Young earned the win, pitching a spotless 10th inning.

Senior shortstop Freddie Landers paced Grayslake Central with two hits. The Rams, who finished third last year, will play Metamora in the third-place game at 9 a.m.

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