OSWEGO – Less than 12 hours after graduating high school, Matt Zinnecker had another emotional high point, one he nearly couldn't put in to words.
"It's almost unreal," Zinnecker said after Downers Grove South's baseball team captured the sectional title at Oswego with a 10-1 win against Plainfield North on Saturday.
"These guys all year – I wouldn't want to do this with another group of guys. We all want to play for each other. No one wants to be an individual."
The sectional title was South's first since 2005, according to Illinois High School Association records, and sends the Mustangs to the supersectional game, where they will face St. Rita at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood. The winner moves on to the state semifinals.
"We're a team and we believe in each other," senior Joe Becht said. "We don't play selfish baseball."
Against Plainfield North, all 10 Mustang (28-8) batters reached base and eight different players scored runs.
South scored seven times in the third inning as four errors, a hit batter and a fielder's choice that didn't produce an out extended the inning.
Becht's hard-hit single plated Joey Engel and Anthony Metz, who both reached on errors, started the onslaught. Danny Oriente's infield single scored Danny Spinuzza (fielder's choice) and Zinnecker brought home Becht with a bloop single down the first base line to make it 4-0.
Chris Pedrak's single plated Kyle May (running in place of catcher Oriente), Zinnecker scored when Metz reached on an error, and Pedrak came home on the same play when a throw across the diamond from first base to third base skipped away from Plainfield North's third baseman.
The Mustangs tacked on a pair of runs in the fourth and another in the fifth, and the last two innings we merely a formality as the Tigers mustered just one hit off relief pitcher Peter Hamot. Zac Taylor scattered five hits over five innings to earn the win for the Mustangs.
"I'm so happy for the kids," South head coach Darren Orel said. "It's all about them. They're all about each other."