Multiple times over the weekend, the Oglesby Junior League baseball team was on the ropes.
Multiple times, Oglesby responded.
Oglesby rallied from a 10-run deficit on Saturday to stay alive in the state tournament then won a pair of games over Clear Ridge on Sunday — including overcoming a seven-run deficit in the final game — to claim the state championship.
Oglesby won 17-2 and 14-11.
“It doesn’t really feel real right now,” Oglesby manager Tom Tunnell said. “It’s so great for the boys. They just really overachieved. It’s a thrill.
“After we lost the first game (Thursday), we had to win four games in three days. That’s a tough battle for anybody. We were down 12-2 on Saturday against Elgin and we just fought and fought and fought. We had two outs in the bottom of the seventh with guys on second and third. Evan Entrican doubled down the third base line to score two runs (for a 14-13 victory). The ball landed on the chalk. It was amazing. It was that kind of effort all the way through.”
Oglesby advances to the Central Region Tournament in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Oglesby opens the tournament against Kentucky at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“(Our mentality) is going to be the same as it’s been all the way through,” Tunnell said. “We always say to the boys, ‘What’s the No. 1 reason you play baseball?’ They all say they want to win, but they want to have fun too. That’s what we try to instill in the boys — make sure you have fun.”
Oglesby had plenty of fun in the first game Sunday as it pounded out 17 hits en route to a 17-2 victory.
Oglesby score five runs in the second inning then batted around and tacked on seven more runs in the third inning.
Billy Mini went 3-for-3 and scored four runs, while Josh Senica was 3-for-5 with three runs. Brendan Boudreau, Gage Starkey, Justin Randolph and Seth Ferrari each scored a pair of runs.
“The whole team top to bottom was hitting the ball well,” Tunnell said. “We scored so many runs (in the tournament). The whole team was making solid contact.
“Josh Senica was on fire. He kept hitting the ball hard time after time. Brendan Bodreau led off and he was on base all the time. Billy Mini and Josh Senica wre really hitting it hard. Those two guys really got us going.”
After about a 45-minute break, the teams played again in a winner-take-all game.
Oglesby rallied to win 14-11 after falling behind 7-0.
Oglesby scored three runs in the third inning then batted around and scored six in the fourth. Oglesby tacked on two more runs in the fifth and another pair in the sixth.
Mini, Senica, Joe Plankenhorn and Luke Tunnell each had two hits in the second game, while Bodreau, Callen Hueneburg and Plankenhorn each scored two runs.
“They jumped on us 7-0, but I think because of what happened the day before when we came back from a 10-run deficit, our kids never gave up,” Tunnell said.
Oglesby went to Seth Ferrari in relief in the second inning after falling behind 7-0.
“We brought Seth Ferrari in to pitch and he kept getting key outs and throwing key pitches,” Tunnell said. “He kept us in the game. He threw 95 pitches and really kept them off balance. That allowed us to stay positive and think we had a chance. Eventually, we were able to come back.”
Ferrari pitched into the seventh inning and recorded two outs before having to come out due to the pitch count.
Bodreau induced a groundout to third base to end the game.
“We really had some people step up pitching,” Tunnell said. “Billy Mini pitched Friday night. He hasn’t pitched much this year because he’s had some arm soreness issues. He threw 95 pitches and struck out 11. He was just fantastic. That really got us going. The first game Sunday, Josh Senica threw the entire game.”