ELMHURST – Before Willowbrook's baseball team lost in a regional final, Jake Cady had one more special performance for the Warriors.
The senior pitcher fired a three-hit complete game in a 3-2 win against neighboring York in the regional semifinal on May 29 before the Warriors lost to top sectional seed Batavia 8-1 in the final Saturday.
Cady needed just 81 pitches to go the distance in the victory. He also racked up eight strikeouts without walking a batter.
"I'm not typically a strikeout pitcher, everything was just working," Cady said. "It's the best I've had all four pitches working."
Coach Vic Wisner knew right away that Cady, who had knee surgery in the offseason and didn't throw his first pitch after the injury until the first practice of the spring season, had his good stuff.
"He doesn't throw a ton of pitches," Wisner said. "You can tell in the first couple innings when his ball is down he's going to be in really good shape. He's an absolute battler."
The day after defeating York, the Warriors headed to prom and returned Saturday morning for the regional final against Batavia. Willowbrook committed six errors leading to five unearned runs in the loss to the Bulldogs.
Batavia scored once in the first inning and three times in the second to build an early lead. A two-out double by Mike Rothmund broke up the Bulldogs' no-hitter and the shutout in the sixth inning as Tyler Vavrek scored. That stood as Willowbrook's only hit on the day.
"The way we battled against York and all of the things we showed against them shows tremendous character," Wisner said. "Even the way we battled back [against Batavia]. With those errors it could have been a 15-0 game. We hung in there, kept it as close as we could. That showed the resiliency and character that we have.”
Willowbrook had won seven of eight entering the regional final. They finished the season 21-12, marking the third straight season of more than 20 wins for the program.
One notable absence from the postseason was pitcher T.J. Case. The High Point recruit sat out the last three weeks of the season and was hoping to return for sectionals. Case was 5-1 on the season with a 0.22 ERA, having just allowed one earned run in 32 innings.
Case and Cady both graduate, leaving a hole in the rotation. Sophomore Matt Pizur started some conference games and will likely see a bigger role next year.
On the offensive side, Rothmund (.461 batting average) and Brian Johnson (.424) led the way. Rothmund had 24 extra base hits and 40 RBI. Johnson wasn't far behind with 21 extra base hits and 27 RBIs. At the top of the order, fellow seniors Tyler Zunkel and Vavrek combined for 44 stolen bases.
Just two starters in the starting lineup Saturday, Mike Petruzzi and Dom McDonnell, were juniors.
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