SYCAMORE – Jack Mizgalski served as the hero who kept Sycamore’s baseball season alive with his walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Mendota, 7-4, Thursday night in a Class 3A Sycamore Regional semifinal.
With the bases loaded with two outs, Mizgalski stepped up to the plate with Sycamore (22-11) trailing Mendota (19-15), 4-3. Mizgalski patiently waited for the pitch he liked and connected to put it over the left-field fence and extend the Spartans’ season.
“I was just thinking I had given up a three-run home run earlier to give them a 4-3 lead,” said Mizgalski, also the starter for the Spartans. “I was 0 for 3, and I was thinking the entire time I had to pick my team up because they did that for me all game. I didn’t remember much after that.”
Sycamore coach Jason Cavanaugh said it was a huge swing in momentum for the Spartans.
“We had the bases loaded with two outs after two strikeouts in a row, and Jack hasn’t been swinging the bat well at all lately,” Cavanaugh said. “For Jack to do that in that type of situation is unbelievable. That’s two out of the last three regional games to end with a home run from us.”
Mizgalski gave up a 1-0 lead to the Trojans in the first inning but was able to keep his composure in the remaining four innings he was on the mound. The senior gave up three hits the rest of the game – one of them being a three-run home run in the fifth inning. Mizgalski finished his outing with six hits allowed, two walks and 11 strikeouts.
“My first inning, obviously, wasn’t the ideal first inning,” Mizgalski said. “I gave up a few hits and a run scored, but I was just missing my spot. Once I started to hit my spots, they struggled at the plate a little bit.”
The Spartans regained a 3-1 lead in the second inning after six straight batters reached base. Sycamore was led at the plate by Mizgalski, who went 1 for 4 with four RBIs. Right fielder Jarod Montavon went 2 for 3 with an RBI.
“I thought we were a base hit away from breaking the game open,” Cavanaugh said. “We just couldn’t get a hit, and we were really lucky to score three runs when it comes down to it. I really thought we needed a timely hit somewhere in those first three innings to put the pressure back on the other team but we just couldn’t find it.”
Sycamore advances to play Burlington Central for the Class 3A Sycamore regional championship at 11 a.m. Saturday.