DOWNERS GROVE – Zac Taylor has his eyes focused on the prize.
So much so that the senior took little time to revel in the regional title he and his Downers Grove South baseball teammates won Saturday on their home field. The Mustangs defeated Marmion 10-0 in five innings, but Taylor was looking further forward.
"It feels good but not great," said the senior, who tossed the shutout on the mound and scored three runs. "Our ultimate goal is state. We have five more [wins] to get it."
The Mustangs (26-8) will aim to reduced their magic number to four when they face Waubonsie Valley in a semifinal game of the Oswego sectional today.
Downers Grove South will hope to put together another performance in the sectional semifinal as they did in the regional championship. The Mustangs played error-free baseball, and Taylor allowed just four hits while the offense pounded out 11 hits. Six players broke into the hit column, including pinch hitter Joe LaCivita, who had a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning.
"This team, it's not always the same guys coming through," South head coach Darren Orel said. "It's different guys stepping up. We don't have to rely on one or two guys to get the job done."
While a slew of players contributed, the regional championship was a last chance to shine on South's field for Taylor and fellow three-year varsity player Joe Becht, and they went out with a bang.
Taylor drew three walks, legged out a bloop double, had a stolen base and scored three runs from the top of the order. Becht laced three hits, scored twice and drove in three runs.
"They're special," Orel said. "They've played a lot of varsity games, I think for Zac that was 105 and Joe it was 107. For three years they've been batting 1-2 so when they get out there, they're pretty much on their own. They can do whatever they feel, which is exciting for me as a coach because I don't always know what they're going to do."
Kyle May scored a pair of runs as a courtesy runner, Matt Zinnecker had a run and RBI and Danny Spinuzza scored the run to end the game as they also enjoyed their last home game at South.
If you go
Who: Downers Grove South vs. Waubonsie Valley
What: Class 4A sectional semifinal baseball
When: 6:30 p.m. today
Where: Oswego High School, 4250 Rt. 71, Oswego