You could sense Downers Grove South's frustration after coming away empty-handed from a bases-loaded, nobody out situation in the first inning of Tuesday's baseball game against Willowbrook.
The Mustangs made sure it didn't happen again.
They loaded the bases in each of the last three innings, and scored each time while rallying for an 11-4 West Suburban Gold victory over the visiting Warriors.
Downers South (23-8, 13-3) trailed 4-3 heading to the bottom of the sixth before exploding for 8 runs behind Brett Riegler's 2-run single and Alex Hanek's grand slam. Mustangs starting pitcher Cameron Crowley, after a rough beginning, closed out the complete game with a 1-2-3 top of the seventh.
"We're just resilient," said Hanek, who also singled and doubled. "We've been in that situation before where we've trailed and come back. We just flipped the switch and got the bats going."
The Mustangs and Leyden are now tied atop the Gold standings, and Willowbrook's a game back in the loss column. Downers South and the Eagles play a continued game on Wednesday with the score knotted 7-7 in the top of the eighth. The winner clinches a share of the Gold title.
To have a chance at its own share of the crown, Willowbrook (22-8, 13-4) -- which led 4-0 after three innings on Tuesday -- needs Downers South to beat Leyden and the Warriors need to beat the Mustangs in Thursday's Gold finale.
"We just didn't take advantage of our opportunities," said Willowbrook coach Vic Wisner. "They were able to hit the ball and we gave away freebies. They were able to take advantage more than we did."
Willowbrook broke out to a 3-0 second-inning lead sparked by Marshall McDonnell's 2-run single. Kyle Ferguson's solo homer boosted the lead to 4-0 in the third.
Mikey Palenik singled in 2 runs for Downers South in the fourth and Michael Greco's run-scoring infield single in the fifth narrowed the gap to 4-3.
"I give Cameron a lot of credit for hanging in there and battling on the mound," said Downers South coach Darren Orel. "And when we needed the big hits and the quality at-bats at the end, we got it done."
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