Senior Luke Mockler and his Fenwick baseball teammates were determined, almost certain, of pulling off another come-from-behind thriller June 6 in the IHSA Class 3A Schaumburg Supersectional against Crystal Lake South.
They never got the chance.
In a cruel twist of fate from Mother Nature, the Gators won 8-6 at Wintrust Field after the game was called in the bottom of the sixth inning following a roughly 70-minute lightning and rain delay.
The Gators were still at bat with two outs during their three-run frame to regain the lead.
“It was not fun [waiting] in the dugout. It wasn’t good,” Mockler said. “We just wanted to get back out there and show that we could beat them.”
The Friars (17-15) had reason to believe they could earn their first downstate trip in the program’s third supersectional appearance. They won the Fenwick Sectional 5-3 on June 4 over Notre Dame after Josh Wicker’s bases-clearing triple in the top of the seventh.
Monday’s wild game was even more back and forth with six lead changes.
Fenwick pulled ahead 6-5 in the rainy sixth as Louis Leonardi reached on an error, advanced when leadoff hitter Wicker was hit by a pitch and scored on Jimmy Martin’s single.
A No. 6 sectional seed, Crystal Lake South responded with two singles and a walk to load the bases with one out. After Mockler hit Mark DeCicco on a full-count pitch to tie the game, Luis Gonzales relieved. The Gators used a full-count, bases-loaded walk and sacrifice fly for a two-run lead.
Then came the delay. The Class 4A supersectional was moved to June 7, but the already official Class 3A game was going to be completed or ended prematurely.
“Nobody wants to go out like this,” Fenwick assistant coach Kyle Kmiecik said. “Especially what happened [June 4], knowing what our guys are capable of late in the game.”
Fenwick pulled ahead 3-1 with a three-run second and 5-4 in the fifth.
Drew Horne was 2 for 3 with three runs scored. Horne started the fifth with a double and scored on Finnley Koch’s two-out double.
Jordan Vasquez hit a two-run double in the second to score Horne (single) and Gonzales (walk). Vasquez scored on Wicker’s single.
With two outs in the third, Horne and Gonzales drew back-to-back walks and Jack Powers singled home Horne.
Senior pitcher Dominic Corgiat worked into the fourth until reaching his IHSA pitch-count limits. Corgiat delivered a clutch scoreless third after the Gators loaded the bases with one out.
“I know this one’s going to stick with me, knowing what could have happened,” Kmiecik said. “Our senior leadership – we challenged them throughout the season to step up and they rose to the occasion and went above and beyond.
Mockler will play baseball next year at Black Hawk College in Moline.
“The sectional win we had. That was the greatest game I’ve ever been a part of, besides this one,” Mockler said. “This was a nail biter, too. The heart we all played with [in the sectional final], I’ll take that over any individual things I’ve got.”