Baseball: Buffalo Grove snaps Conant's 5-game win streak
Buffalo Grove baseball coach Bill Montemayor entered the final week of the regular season in an interesting position.
That position being in the spot of having already clinched the MSL East title as well as the home bid in Friday's MSL championship game against West Division titlist Barrington. The Bison still have a pair of games to play before facing off against the Broncos -- a home nonconference contest with Glenbrook North on Thursday and Monday afternoon's MSL finale versus a streaking Conant team that came up to the Bison's home diamond on a five-game win streak.
"That's a well-coached team over there at Conant. We have a lot of respect for those guys," Montemayor said. "Our biggest message is we want to be climbing at the end of the season playing our best ball when postseason play begins and I think we've been doing that lately."
Thanks to a perfect combination of timely hitting in the early innings and solid late-inning relief from the Bison pitching staff, the home team held off the visitors 5-3 to complete its Mid-Suburban schedule at 15-1 while moving their overall mark on the spring campaign to 18-8.
"Our kids came out ready to hit. (We got) some big two-hitting in the first two innings that put us on the board and our pitchers stepped up in the rest of the ballgame," Montemayor said. "Just proud of the way our guys took it (Conant's challenge)."
The Bison got those runs in their first two frames at the plate. A Dennis Ratzki two-run double followed by an Alex Beihoffer RBI single came after two outs in the first followed by a two-run Jack Alport single that left BG up 5-0 after two.
The Cougars (13-13, 9-7) then got their offense in gear when consecutive run-scoring hits by Isaiah Rhodes and Jacob Jacquart closed the deficit to 5-2 in third, and a run-producing groundout by Nick Nitti brought them to within 5-3 in the fourth.
It was then that the game's defining moment came the following inning. Conant had the bases loaded with one out when Bison starter James Hensley got Richard Hyland to pop up to catcher Jake Jacoby, then struck out Michael Sheehy to get out of situation.
Alport in the sixth followed by Payton Diaz in the seventh each retired the Conant side in their respective innings to preserve the victory in relief.
Hensley credited his success in that decisive frame by his ability to regain his pitch control.
"I thought I did a decent job of being (more) accurate and (getting) my way through the trouble that I got in and was able to get out of it," Hensley said.
Conant coach Derek Fivelson used that pivotal moment in referral to where his team stands heading into an MSL crossover on Thursday prior to state tournament play next week.
"It's going to be moments like that that will make the difference going into to the regional (next week)," Fivelson said. "We are playing very good baseball."