Baseball: Rosa’s walk-off triple caps Providence’s comeback
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org June 9, 2014 11:04PM
Updated: July 11, 2014 6:28AM
Trailing 4-1 to Edwardsville in the bottom of the sixth inning Monday, Providence’s thrilling Class 4A playoff run appeared on the verge of ending.
The Celtics, however, weren’t quite ready to turn in their uniforms.
Dylan Rosa, who has been Mr. Clutch during the playoffs, once again stepped up. Rosa’s walk-off three-run triple in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted Providence to a thrilling 6-5 victory over the Tigers at the Class 4A Champaign Supersectional.
“I knew I was going to get a hit,” said Rosa, a senior first baseman. “I didn’t know I was going to get a walk-off.”
Rosa hammered a first-pitch fastball into the left-center field gap that cleared the bases and sent Providence (26-14) back to the Final Four for the first time since 2011.
Rosa also had a game-winning two-run double against Lockport in the regional semifinal, a game-winning solo homer against Brother Rice in the regional final and a go-ahead two-run single against Lincoln-Way North in the sectional final.
“Dylan is our best hitter for a reason,” Providence coach Mark Smith said. “He’s been clutch all season.”
Providence advances to play Prairie Ridge at 3 p.m. Friday at Silver Cross Field. Prairie Ridge (24-16) beat Mundelein 9-6 Monday to win the Rockford Supersectional.
It was an ugly start Monday for the Celtics. The first six batters of the game for the Tigers (32-8) reached base via a triple, single, double, error, walk and another error. Just like that Providence found itself in a 3-0 hole.
Smith was forced to summon ace Jake Godfrey from the bullpen after five hitters, something he wanted to avoid until later in the game.
“The plan was to get three or four innings from Brent (Villasenor) and then go to Jake,” Smith said. “Jake threw a lot of pitches on Thursday, so we didn’t start him. But we had to bring him in early.”
Godfrey responded with seven innings of two-hit ball and seven strikeouts.
“I was a little sore, but I was going to go as far as I could,” Godfrey said.
Cam Galgano, who had made an error in the fifth inning that resulted in Edwardsville extending its lead to 4-1, made amends in the sixth.
After Phil Kunsa singled and Mike Madej walked, Galgano delivered a two-out, two-run double that cut the deficit to 4-3 and provided the Celtics with some momentum.
“I had to make up for that error,” said Galgano, a left fielder.
Edwardsville tacked on an unearned insurance run in the top of the seventh to make it 5-3.
With the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters up to start the bottom of the seventh, Smith called on Justin Hunniford and Niko Kutsulis to pinch hit and the duo delivered with a walk and single, respectively. Ben Salvador then came through with a sacrifice bunt on a 1-and-2 count, pushing runners to second and third. When Zack Pych walked to load the bases, Rosa strolled to the dish.
“I knew Dylan was going to deliver,” Galgano said.