Mike Pignatiello admitted that batting in the cleanup spot can be a little weird at times, but the Beecher senior being shuffled into a big RBI spot has paid its dividends for the Bobcats in the 2013 postseason.
That's been evident since Beecher began the postseason with an 11-14 record before winning the Class 2A Momence Regional. On Saturday, the Bobcats took it a step further, winning the 2A Seneca Sectional with a 5-4, 8-inning walk-off win over El Paso-Gridley.
In the two sectional games, Pignatiello has come up with three RBIs, including a 2-for-4 day with one RBI on Saturday.
"I figured in the postseason, you start all over and make a name for yourself," Pignatiello said. "I'm more aggressive at the plate than I have been, and I've been making good plays at third (base)."
Pignatiello's clutch hitting is a welcome for a team that plays a lot of small ball. The Bobcats (15-14) have hit just four home runs this season. Of course, Pignatiello also gets into the small ball mentality, which has helped him lead the Bobcats with a .368 batting average.
"He's come up with big hits," Beecher coach Brandon DuBois said. "It hasn't just been swinging the bat. He's turned a couple sacrifice bunts into base hits because he can leg them out.
"He's been pretty consistent. I can't remember the last game he hasn't been productive on offense."
Now, the Bobcats have advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history, where they'll face Lisle at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Benedictine University Super-Sectional. Making history at a school known more for its softball and cross country has been special for Pignatiello, who desires to keep taking the baseball program to the level of it's two more popular sports.
"It's an awesome feeling," he said. "Being from a small town, everybody is going to be proud of you no matter what happens."