Manteno put an end to Morgan Park’s dream season — which included the first city and regional championships in program history — with a 3-2 Class 3A Lincoln-Way West Sectional semifinal win Thursday night.
Jack Morgan notched the game-winning RBI in the sixth inning, driving home Lucas Robbins, who started the inning with a walk. The hit gave Morgan the win on the mound in two innings of relief for starter Drew Nichols (five innings pitched, two hits).
Morgan, Manteno’s No. 1 pitcher, then struck out two of the final three Morgan Park batters to close the game.
“It was a good battle,” Manteno coach Matt Beckner said. “We kept answering. We had a couple of opportunities to break the game open and we failed to do that. Jack Morgan came in and threw well for us and sealed the deal.”
Manteno (23-13-2) is now slated to meet Lemont (31-5) at 11 a.m. Saturday for the Lincoln-Way West Sectional championship.
“It’s been a tremendous season,” Morgan Park coach Ernest Radcliffe said. “To bring a city championship to the Morgan Park community has been fantastic.”
Morgan Park (21-8-1) struck first when James Davison scored on a sacrifice fly from Lavar Reed. Davison reached base on a double and stole third before being knocked home.
The Mustangs later had a chance in the bottom of the sixth to answer Morgan’s RBI single, but Duane Campbell ended the frame when he was caught in a rundown at home after Manteno spotted him with too much of a lead at third base.
“We talked about it all week,” Beckner said of Morgan Park’s speed. “Get the ball out of the glove and watch the runners. I think that kind of hurt them.”
Christian Bullock, a sophomore lefty, fired 6 1/3 innings and gave up two earned runs. He scattered six hits as the Morgan Park defense helped out by turning a pair of double plays.
“We lost by one,” Bullock said. “But I gave it my all out there. We accomplished history. We’re only going to get stronger. We’ve got a nice core over there. We’re going to be back.”