Baseball: Hinsdale South’s season ends in regional final
Strong pitching and timely hitting are almost always a recipe for success. Throw in errorless defense, and a coach couldn’t really ask for any more from his squad.
Coach Craig Tomczak got the trifecta from his 10th-seeded Metea Valley Mustangs, and they won the Waubonsie Valley 4A Regional on Saturday. They defeated highly regarded and No. 2 seed Hinsdale South, 5-1, and advanced to next week’s Romeoville sectional where the No. 3-seeded Neuqua Valley Wildcats await. They also evened their record for the year at 18-18.
Metea southpaw Billy Sheeren turned in a steady performance against the big sticks of the Hornets. He fanned only four, but scattered seven hits, and had to work out of a jam only once.
Hinsdale South scored its only run in the bottom of the first inning on consecutive doubles by pitcher Emmanuel Morris, who went the distance for the Hornets, and PJ Schuster.
Sheeren faced a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the second, but escaped by striking out Sean Beesley and getting DJ Deolitsis to ground out to second on a great play by the Mustangs’ Ben Doiron.
“I had all three pitches working, and could throw my change-up to their big hitters and keep them on the ground,” said Sheeren. “I was definitely pumped to hold a team like Hinsdale South to not score anything with the bases loaded. It was definitely big.”
Metea started slowly, but was able to tie the score on an RBI single by Andrew Fox in the third. Two others were stranded, however, as Morris bore down to strike out Kenny Obendorf and Ryan Solomon to end the inning.
Sheeren drove in the go-ahead run for the Mustangs in the fourth on a groundout, but Michael Mooney had Metea’s biggest hit in the fifth inning. He singled to drive in Obendorf and Solomon to boost the lead to 4-1. It was the turning point of the game, and the Mustangs’ confidence could be felt as a result.
“Billy was pitching a great game, and I thought he deserved more than a one-run cushion,” said Mooney. “I just wanted to put the ball on the bat with the bases loaded. It got through the hole, so it worked out well.”
Sheeren seemed to get stronger, during the last five innings, allowing only two hits and issuing only three walks. He threw 119 total pitches.
Metea added a score in the seventh as Mooney boomed a double to left center to plate Obendorf, who had walked and stolen second.
“I would say Billy’s (Sheeren) performance today was gutsy,” said Tomczak. “I don’t think he had his really good stuff, but all year when he is on the mound, he has given us a shot to win.
“I’m happy for our entire team and especially for our seniors. We started on this journey three years ago. We all came from Waubonsie (to Metea when it opened) and our goal was to win a regional. Tip your hat to Hinsdale South — they have a great team. We played errorless baseball all day and it’s a great accomplishment.”
“Our kids played well all year long, and it’s a shame it ended this way. That’s how it happens in baseball sometimes,” said Hinsdale South coach Paul Hoel. “Tip your cap to Metea as they did a great job of keeping us off balance at the plate. Our kids are 29-6 and had a great run. It just ended a little short for us.”