ROSELLE – West Chicago's baseball team didn't set conference or even individual goals before the 2014 season.
Instead, the Wildcats lone goal was to get better every day and hopefully play in a regional championship game.
Turns out, the squad did even better.
With Jon Michiels hitting his first two home runs of the season and Dave Kordik tossing another complete game, West Chicago captured the Lake Park Class 4A regional title Saturday with a 7-4 win against the host Lancers.
"The kids were really excited," West Chicago coach Dan McCarthy said. "They've been pointing to this all year long. And our fans were great."
In the process of winning the regional, the Wildcats won their 18th game of the spring and assured themselves of at least a .500 record. The squad was set to play Geneva in a Schaumburg sectional semifinal game Wednesday with the winner advancing to Saturday's sectional final at noon.
"You look at our team, we went from four wins last year to 18 wins," McCarthy said. "That's a huge jump. And it's been the same kids. They put in the time and improved in the offseason. What a difference a year makes."
Michiels' first round-tripper was part of a four-run first frame and he added a two-run shot in the fifth after Lake Park has pulled to within 5-2.
"The timing was obviously very critical in both situations," The coach said of Michiels' homers. "Getting us on the board early was huge and then after they were pecking away, he gave us some breathing room."
Kordik, who nearly tossed a no-hitter in the team's playoff-opening win over Streamwood, scattered 11 hits while yielding two earned runs.
"He did a great job," McCarthy said. "He gave up 11 hits but he battled when he had to."
On May 28, the Wildcats upset Schaumburg 2-0 to reach the regional final. Fred Gosbeth was in complete control on the mound, allowing one hit while striking out four in a complete-game effort.
Offensively, West Chicago plated single runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Austin Kordik and Connor Dall each had two hits and a run scored while Antonio Solis drove in a run.
"Fred threw well," McCarthy said. "He didn't have the stuff he had against South Elgin when he struck out 14 but he held their bats silent for most of the day. He beat a very good team and gave us an opportunity to play in the regional championship.
"When he throws strikes, he is tough to hit. He kept them off balance most of the day and they didn't hit many balls into the outfield."
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