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Boys Baseball: Metea Knocks Off WWS, Advances To First Regional Final

After Metea Valley struggled in three straight losses last week, Mustangs coach Craig Tomczak had every right to be concerned about his team’s bats going into Thursday’s regional semifinal against Wheaton Warrenville South.

But the Mustangs pushed any doubt aside, pounding out 16 hits and 12 runs in their 12-5 victory over the Tigers.

Metea Valley, the No. 10 seed in the Romeoville sectional, advances to play second-seeded Hinsdale South at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Waubonsie Valley regional final.

“We didn’t swing the bats real well last week and I was a little nervous going in to the game today,” Tomczak said. “Our approach today was great. It took us a couple innings to get going, but everyone always says that hitting is contagious, and that one inning we put a bunch of hits together.”

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI single by Ryan O’Neil. Wheaton South was in position to add more – they had the bases loaded with just one out – but Metea pitcher Tom Bolle induced a double play to end the inning.

The Mustangs’ bats broke out in the third inning, scoring five runs on six hits. Kenny Obendorf, Michael Mooney, Billy Sheeren, Austin Kinnavy and Ben Doiron all chipped in RBI singles during the inning as the Mustangs took a 5-1 advantage.

Metea (17-18) added two more runs in the fifth inning on RBI singles by Kinnavy and Obendorf.

In the seventh inning, the Mustangs had their second five-run frame. Andrew Fox started the scoring with an RBI single that brought home Kinnavy. Then with two outs and two strikes, Mooney launched a grand slam to left field that put Metea up 12-1. It was the junior first baseman’s first grand slam at any level.

“It was really exciting,” Mooney said. “I was trying to get the bat on the ball, it worked out.”

Obendorf went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored while Kinnavy went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Of the Mustangs 16 hits, 15 were singles. Mooney’s grand slam was Metea’s first and only extra base hit.

“We have the type of team that if we get a lead, I think we’re better offensively. Then we can bunt a little bit, we can hit and run, we can steal bases from time to time,” Tomczak said. “We have a lot of base hit guys, and when you’re trailing, it’s hard to do the things we like to do offensively.”

The Tigers got RBI base hits from Kevin Giltz and O’Neil as they scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Metea pitcher Adam Cielinski relieved Bolle with two outs in the inning and retired the only batter he faced to clinch the Mustangs’ 12-5 victory.

The Mustangs will make their first ever appearance in a regional final game on Saturday. Tomczak said the Mustangs want to go even farther.

“These kids have worked hard for it for three years. But our job is not done, we’re not satisfied by any means,” Tomczak said. “But we know the job Saturday is going to be really, really tough. They’ve got a real good team.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon, Naperville Sun and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Girls Soccer: Naperville North Knocks Off Wheaton South For Regional Title

Naperville North warms up before Friday’s regional final in Bolingbrook.

There are no easy games for teams placed in the murderers’ row that is the Naperville North 3A girls soccer sectional.

On Friday, Naperville North claimed the Bolingbrook regional title after it held off a second half rally from Wheaton Warrenville South.

Abby Mangefrida, Zoe Swift and Abbie Boswell each scored for the Huskies in their 3-1 victory.

“You know that you’re going to have a dogfight every game from here on out,” North coach Steve Goletz said. “That’s what makes it fun for us, you know you’re getting a great game every time. They’re going to be exciting games, and that’s all you can ask for.”

The Huskies will face Neuqua Valley next Wednesday at home in a sectional semifinal.

North broke through for two goals in a span of two minutes midway through the first half in Friday’s game.

The Huskies took a 1-0 lead 21 minutes into the game when Mangefrida’s shot from 20 yards out deflected off a Tiger defender and past goalie Abbey Fuster.

Two minutes later, a perfect feed from junior midfielder Jill Van Kampen set up a goal by Swift that put the Huskies up 2-0.

“It was perfect, Jill gave me a great ball through, and I just ran to to it,” Swift said. “She did most of the work, I just finished it.”

Wheaton South’s Alexis Jakuszewski cut the Tigers deficit in half 17 minutes after halftime. The freshman defender’s lob floated over the outstretched arms of Huskies goalie Allison Hitchcock and into the back of the net, making the score 2-1.

The Tigers had a couple chances to tie the game, but couldn’t break through. The Huskies started to breath easier with a minute left in the game after Boswell scored off a pass from junior midfielder Cora Climo to put North up 3-1.

North had a bit of a scare late in the second half when Swift went down after a collision with two Tiger defenders. Swift left the game after laying on the field for a couple minutes during an injury timeout.

However, the Huskies’ star forward returned to action seven minutes later, and after the game, Swift said she suffered a nasty scratch to her shin.

“I’m OK, it’ll be fine,” Swift said.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Naperville Sun and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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