Justin Guryn saved his best pitch for last on Monday. The Grayslake Central junior southpaw reached back for a little something extra and struck out Fenwick’s Gino Cavalieri with the tying run on second base to preserve a 2-1 victory at the Class 3A North Central College Supersectional in Naperville.
Grayslake Central (29-10) advances to the state semifinals for the second straight year. The Rams, who have won 21 of their last 23 games, will play Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin at noon Friday at Silver Cross Field in Joliet.
“I was really pumped up at the end and I felt like I was throwing harder,” Guryn said. “Throughout the season I was used to getting guys on base and getting out of the inning, so I just wanted to throw harder than I had been throwing earlier in the game and it helped.”
Fenwick’s Michael Krecek walked to start the top of the seventh and was bunted to second by Quinn Snarskis. But Guryn fanned Tom Planek, who had doubled home Krecek to tie the game in the fifth, on three pitches and quickly got ahead of Cavalieri 0-2. Cavalieri fouled off two pitches and Grayslake Central coach Troy Whalen called for a breaking ball, but Guryn shook off the sign and blew a fastball by Cavalieri.
“He said, ‘I want to get him with my fastball,’ and I’m like, ‘okay, we’re going to get him on the fastball,” Whalen said. “The little guy has logged a lot of innings, but I tell you, the last pitch that he threw…was the fastest one he threw all game.”
That ended Fenwick’s finest season. The Friars (25-11) were appearing in their first supersectional, while the Rams were playing their third in as many years. Both sides said that was a factor.
“For most of the guys that’s the biggest game of their life as far as we hadn’t been there,” Fenwick coach Dave Hogan said. “I think some of our baserunning showed a little bit of nerves. “The baserunning lacked a little bit of skill today because they were trying to make something happen instead of just taking a deep breath and relaxing.”Fenwick