ELMHURST – Jake Cady picked a great day to have his best stuff of the season.
The Willowbrook senior pitched a complete game in just 81 pitches to propel the Warriors past York in a regional semifinal at York on Thursday. The Warriors won 3-2 and will play in Saturday's regional final at 11 a.m. against top sectional seed Batavia.
Cady retired the first 12 batters he faced and struck out eight Dukes without issuing a walk. York's only runs were unearned.
"It's the best I've had all four pitches working," Cady said. "I'm not typically a strikeout pitcher, everything was just working."
The Warriors (21-11) scratched across a run in the first and another in the second. Brian Johnson led off the fourth with a triple deep to center and was driven in on a sacrifice fly by Tucker Newling.
The Dukes (22-14) got back in the game in the sixth when Mitch Miner reached on an error and Nolen Spencer and Anthony Santos hit singles.
However, Cady held off further damage and allowed just three hits, all singles.
"You can tell in the first couple innings when his ball is down, he's going to be in really good shape," Willowbrook coach Vic Wisner said of Cady. "He's an absolute battler."
York won the West Suburban Silver for the second time in three years, but both times they have lost the first game of the postseason.
"We're trying to make a name for ourselves," York coach Dave Kalal said. "Two conference championships in three years, we need to start winning regionals. We need to start winning in the playoffs to start gaining some respect from people not in our conference, but around the other areas. We're doing that, but it's about the process. This is a long-term plan. It's nothing short-term."