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Notre Dame, Evanston to face off in regional final

05/28/2014, 10:00pm CDT
By Hunter Tickel

Notre Dame held on for a 3-1 win over Taft and Evanston took care of offensively challenged Lincoln Park 6-2 on Wednesday to advance to Saturday's Class 4A regional final at Notre Dame.

Clinging to a 3-0 lead with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the seventh inning, Notre Dame pitcher Sam Ferri went to work.

Three outs later he was out of the jam, striking out a batter, forcing a fly ball for an out and getting a batter out on a ground ball in a 3-1 win over Taft at Notre Dame.

"Sam is as cool as the other side of the pillow," Notre Dame coach Nelson Gord said. "He kept his composure and did what he had to do."

Fifth-seeded Notre Dame will face four seed Evanston in the Class 4A regional final at 2 p.m. Saturday at Notre Dame.

Taft's late-game rally was a rare scoring chance; junior Marc Gonzalez and senior Elias DeJesus got on base with back-to-back errors.

"There at the end playing under the lights we had a ball lost up there," Gord said. "We tried to practice that last night, but we had the rain."

With two outs Notre Dame (20-15-10) started its scoring account in the opening inning off an RBI single from third baseman Matthew Segovia, following a double from right fielder Sam Ferri.

It was 2-0 after catcher Vince Surdo was brought home from a double by first baseman Joe Rimac.

Surdo scored in the third off another Rimac RBI to make it 3-0.

Taft (26-6) finished with just two hits as it struggled to find any rhythm.

"We didn't get done what we needed to get done," Taft coach Rich Pildes said. "The hitter versus the pitcher is a mystery that is not easily unlocked."

Ferri hit 2-for-3, Rimac went 2-for-2 with two RBI and designated hitter John Draths hit 2-for-3.

"I would say [the win] is probably up there [for best wins]," Ferri said. "It was a big game for us."

In the earlier regional semifinal at Notre Dame, Evanston beat Lincoln Park 6-2.

Evanston (20-2) struggled to hit consistently, which led to a scrappy offensive game.

Wildkits leadoff batter Charlie Maxwell was the only player from either team to record multiple hits (two).

"It was just one of those days I put it on me," Evanston coach Frank Consiglio said. "When you get into these regional championships it is easy to look past [teams]."

A wild pitch after two walks advanced left fielder Jackson Mihevc and designated hitter Joe Franke to second and third base in the bottom of the second.

Catcher Sam Evans made it 1-0 with a sacrifice RBI as the team managed to score without a hit.

"That's the way you got to play, you don't always have to get hits you get people on base," Lincoln Park coach Leonardo Rodriguez said.

Hits from Maxwell and Blanchard sparked a two-run fourth inning with a sacrifice fly RBI from first baseman Eli Otting and Mihevc.

Lincoln Park (13-5) answered the next inning as Wildkit pitcher James Allen earned the save in relief.

Lincoln Park third baseman Rashid Shepard got on base with a walk. Pitcher Jacob Rivera doubled to center field before both runners scored on catcher Jon Manetti's  double.

"[My coach] told me I was first in relief, but I didn't expect to go in that early," Allen said. "That's what pitchers do: they come in in tough situations like that."

In the fifth inning, his teammates did just that.

The lead was extended to 6-2 with RBI from Otting, second baseman Marty Fenn and Franke.

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