Stashed away in the No. 9 spot in Simeon’s lineup, Ralphe Gross could be the forgotten man for the Wolverines.
The junior outfielder isn’t having any of it.
Gross made a huge play in the outfield and drove in the go-ahead runs as Simeon won 6-4 over Reavis in a Class 4A St. Laurence Regional semifinal.
“The preparation started last night, and we talked as a team about going hard,” Gross said. “I always want to be a big-time player and come through with big-time plays. That showed up today.”
Simeon (14-7) will play St. Laurence at 11 a.m. Saturday for the regional title.
From right field and at the plate, Gross was everywhere for the Wolverines.
In a 2-2 game in the fourth, Gross stepped to the dish with the bases loaded. Not trying to do too much, the junior slapped a hard-hit single down the first base line to bring two runners around, putting Simeon up for good.
“I saw curveballs inside the first two pitches,” Gross said. “Then with a fastball inside, I was able to hit it down the first base line.”
Gross also saved a run in the first inning when he gathered a Jose Romero single to right threw out Jake Aguilar at home.
“The coaches always tell me ‘Charge through the ball,’” Gross said. “I try to do the same thing every time.”
In the top of the sixth, Jamary McKinney headed to the mound in relief and pitched around a two-out walk to preserve the win. The junior was involved in a nasty collision at first in the top of the sixth.
“My wrist, I think I sprained it, but I fought through it,” McKinney said. “I had to for the team. I was trying to block it all out (in the seventh).”
Dion Earls and Jalin McMillan had an RBI each for Simeon with Lorenzo Elion (run) and Darius Day adding three hits apiece in the win.
Reavis (17-18) entered the game on a nine-game winning streak but stranded 11 runners against the Wolverines. Joe O’Hara, Aguilar and Jorge Hernandez had an RBI apiece for the Rams with Matt Kopp adding a run and three walks.
“Our M.O. is that we haven’t hit all year,” Reavis coach Don Erickson said. “We were winning a lot of 2-1, 3-2 games with our streak. We hung around, and Simeon gave us chances. We just didn’t get that last big (hit).”