Baseball: Kelly keeps Maine South rolling in postseason
Keenan Kelly (51) of Maine South hits for a single on Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Park Ridge, IL. | Jon Durr~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:20PM
Keenan Kelly’s game-winning hit in the bottom of the 10th inning Saturday earned Maine South a 3-2 win over Maine West in the regional final and gave the Hawks a program record for wins in a single season.
Maine South coach Bill Milano wasn’t surprised by the comeback or that Kelly was the one to produce the clutch hit.
“He’s done that a number of times for us this year,” said the coach, whose club improved to 31-5 this spring. “He always picks up his teammates. They pick each other up.”
The senior clean-up hitter went into his last at-bat looking for his first hit in four appearances. He stayed in the moment to knock home Lawrence Darlak with two outs.
“Great at-bat,” Milano said. “He was patient, and he got us the run we needed.”
Top-seeded Maine South was scheduled to play fourth-seeded Niles West on Wednesday in the sectional semifinals at Evanston. The championship game is 11 a.m. Saturday.
Down 2-0 in the regional final, the Hawks tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Pat Aloisio made sure the score remained the same until the Hawks could plate another run. The starter went all 10 innings, and Milano said he got stronger as the game wore on.
Aloisio, who raised his record to 10-1, surrendered only four hits and set down the final seven batters he faced. He allowed only one base runner in the last five innings.
“He was very sharp at the end,” the coach said.
The Hawks 31st win surpassed the 2001 team, which ended up 30-4. However, that club did not win a regional championship.
Maine South last sectional title came in 2010. Catcher Jimmy Frankos is the only current player who started for that club.