Baseball: Ottavio Dattolo goes the distance on the mound in West Aurora’s winTyler Hasper (right) of Waubonsie Valley is safe by inches as he dives back into first base on a pickoff attempt. Making the tag is West Aurora first baseman Bobby Drager. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 21, 2012 8:42PM
When the IHSA released the pairings for Class 4A back on May 9, Waubonsie Valley coach Dan Fezzuoglio knew his team had its work cut out.
Playing in a regional quarterfinal is tough enough, but Fezzuoglio knew the opponent his team drew in that quarterfinal — West Aurora — would be no pushover.
Thanks to some opportunistic baseball and a complete game from Ottavio Dattolo, 18th-seeded West Aurora made Fezzuoglio’s fear a reality by pulling off a 5-4 upset of 13th-seeded Waubonsie Valley Monday in the Class 4A Waubonsie Valley Regional.
Trying to overcome a pair of multi-run deficits proved to be too much for Waubonsie Valley, which got down by as many as four runs after an error from Warriors’ third baseman James Palasz opened the door for the Blackhawks to score three runs in the top of the sixth.
“Everything is momentum and when teams get up early, they feel confident and that’s what happened,” Fezzuoglio said. “(West Aurora) took advantage of some of our mistakes and that’s the ballgame. We just didn’t have enough at the end.”
Following the error from Palasz in the sixth, three of the next four West hitters came through with hits to help push the Blackhawk lead to 5-1.
Allowing two earned runs while scattering seven hits, Dattolo (4-7) fanned nine and refused to let a two-out, two-run error from Blackhawks’ second baseman Adam Lipscomb in the bottom of the sixth faze him.
Letting a ball hit off Tyler Josupait’s bat go right through his legs, Lipscomb’s miscue highlighted a three-run sixth for Waubonsie Valley, cutting West Aurora’s lead to 5-4. But Dattolo had his second baseman’s back.
“Just let it go. You can’t let things affect you,” Dattolo said. “I’ve let it affect me before and it’s been a bad effect. This season, I’ve blown two games and it was due to dumb stuff like that. You can’t let it get to you and once it gets to you, it affects the entire team. Your body language is affected. When you go out there with a good intensity and composure, you gotta make sure your team’s following with you.”
West Aurora (12-24) jumped to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning by taking advantage of Palasz’s first error on the day, courtesy of a two-run single from Bobby Drager. The Blackhawks never trailed.
“That was big. We’ve kind of had a knack all season long of getting guys on base and then not driving them in,” West Aurora coach John Reeves said. “If you go back, we probably lead the world with bases loaded, nobody out, one out (and) can’t drive in a run.”
Taking the tough loss for Waubonsie Valley was senior right-hander Mitch Stefani (1-6), who allowed two earned runs on seven hits and struck out five in 5„ innings.
Sean Grannan went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and scored two runs for the Warriors (15-19), who finish under .500 for the first time since 2008.
Avenging a 6-1 loss to the Warriors on March 26, the Blackhawks advance to face off with the Class 4A Romeoville Sectional’s second seed, Hinsdale South, on Wednesday in the first Class 4A Waubonsie Valley Regional semifinal.
“I know we got (Hinsdale South) on Wednesday. We’ll take whatever,” Reeves said.