Baseball: Maine South squeezes past WaucondaMaine South's Caleb de Marigny (7) backhands a grounder against Wauconda in the Lawler Summer Classic Monday, July 23, 2012 at Benedictine University in Lisle. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Bill Milano is willing to listen to his players, which turned out to be a very good thing for Maine South on Monday afternoon.
The Hawks had pulled into a tie with Wauconda in the bottom of the seventh inning in the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association’s Phil Lawler Summer Classic at Benedictine University in Lisle.
Mllano, the Hawks’ coach, wanted to call for a safety squeeze. But rising senior Eric Sons had other ideas.
Sons talked Milano into trying a suicide squeeze on the first pitch. “If I get it down, they can’t defend it and we win,” Sons told his coach.
That’s just what happened, as Sons did his job and winning pitcher Gehrig Parker scored easily for a 5-4 Hawks victory.
Maine South (17-7) plays Lyons (29-4-1) at 10 a.m. Tuesday at North Central College in Naperville, with the winner moving on to Wednesday’s semifinals.
Sons’ bunt gave Maine South its first lead in a game the Hawks trailed 2-0 before they batted, 3-0 after an inning and a half and 4-2 going into the bottom of the sixth.
Sons kept the faith. “Eventually we always have our inning to score some runs,” he said.
Milano also stayed upbeat: “I said, ‘Guys, let’s chip away.’ ”
That’s how it played out. Parker and Jesus Saavedra delivered RBI singles in the third to pull Maine South within 3-2. Luke Kenny gave Wauconda a 4-2 lead with an RBI single in the fourth, but Maine South’s Bobby Pennington singled home a run in the sixth to get the deficit back to a run.
Then came a roller-coaster bottom of the seventh for the Hawks. Adam Depkon led off with a single, but was picked off by Wauconda catcher Kyle Bock.
Caleb de Marigny then walked and scored the tying run when Parker (2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI) tripled to the gap in right-center.
“I was excited when we started (the inning), then got a little nervous,” Sons said. “But I knew Gehrig would come through.”
“Gehrig Parker was huge,” Milano said. “He was the game MVP.”
Parker came on in relief in the fourth and finished for the Hawks, allowing one run (earned) on five hits with one strikeout and no walks.
“They were one of the best hitting teams we’ve seen all summer,” Milano said of the Bulldogs, who had 12 hits.
Kenny finished 2-for-4 with two RBI for Wauconda, while Bock went 3-for-3 with a walk. Jeff Lindberg and Brandon Gibis added two hits each for the Bulldogs, while Zach Jones had two hits for Maine South.