CRESTWOOD – At least Zac Taylor and his Downers Grove South baseball teammates didn't go down without a fight.
Facing St. Rita in a Class 4A supersectional with a trip to the state finals on the line, the Mustangs left the field with their heads held high despite suffering a 2-1 loss at Standard Bank Stadium.
"We played one of the best ballgames we've ever played right here," said Taylor, a senior and three-year varsity starter. "We left our hearts out on the field."
Joe Becht, another senior and three-year starter, echoed those sentiments.
"We played our hearts out and left it all out on the field," Becht said. "It just wasn't in the cards for us tonight."
After five scoreless innings, Taylor drew a one-out walk, stole second and third with Becht up to bat, and came home when Danny Oriente doubled down the left field line. But South left the bases loaded in the inning and St. Rita scored twice in the bottom of the sixth.
The last time South (28-9) reached the supersectional was in 2005, but this year's team enjoyed a deeper playoff advancement. Supersectional game used to be played among the final 16 teams; in the current playoff setup, the final eight teams in each class advance to the supersectional.
"I don't think anybody expected us to be here, but the kids did," South head coach Darren Orel said. "On May 20 we lost to [St. Rita] 7-6 and the kids said, 'Coach, we'll see them again in the supersectional.'
"This group, this team, it was a special group of kids. They played their hearts our for each other."
DGS 10, Plainfield North 1
Three errors and four hits led to seven third-inning runs as the Mustangs cruised to the sectional title Saturday at Oswego High School.
Becht drove in two runs in the third and another in the fifth, and Matt Zinnecker had four hits, two runs and an RBI. The Mustangs pounded out 13 hits.
"One through nine, we all hit and we all want to play for each other," Zinnecker said. "No one has to be the individual, we all want to play together. This team is amazing."
DGS 9, Waubonsie Valley 2
South jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning and added insurance runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings for a big win in the sectional semifinal.
Danny Spinuzza gave up just one earned run and earned the win on the mound. He also drove in a run and scored twice. Chris Pedrak looped a two-out, two-run single down the first base line to stake the Mustangs to the early lead.
"That was huge," Spinuzza said of taking the mound with a lead. "Chris Pedrak had a great two-strike approach and hit it right down the first base line to get those first two runs in and get the momentum for us. We had a lot of confidence after that."