CRETE | After Crete-Monee pinch runner Mitch Hamilton scored, he emphatically yelled "This is our year for conference!"
Needless to say, his predication was accurate on Friday night.
Crete-Monee battled back from a 4-2 deficit after four innings by scoring four runs in the final two innings, including three in the sixth to propel itself to a 6-5 win against Rich Central to clinch the Southland Athletic Conference.
"It's been someone different almost every game," said Crete-Monee coach Gene Cahan, who won his seventh conference title overall. "They've worked long and hard for this, so the credit belongs to them."
The Warriors (19-10, 12-1 SAC) were down two early after one and chipped into the Olympians' lead one run at a time in the beginning.
It started with Mike Wojtanowski scoring on a base hit from No. 9 hitter Lance Lenoir. Then Wojtanowski came back in the fourth and belted a homer over the left-field fence to tie the game at 2.
After Rich Central (18-12, 8-5) tallied two more in the fifth, third baseman Jonathan Fasel would display some heroism first by scoring on a Jake Kadich groundout to make it 4-3.
After Joey Calderone crossed the plate, catcher John McLaughlin and Fasel ripped singles that drove in the all important go-ahead and insurance runs.
"The top of the order has been struggling a little bit and the bottom has been big all season," Fasel said. "In this lineup everyone has a role. No matter if you're first or last, you have to go up there and do a job."
After allowing Rich Central's fifth and final run in the seventh, winning pitcher Zack Silerzio was lifted in favor of Wojtanowski, who recorded the final two outs for his fifth save of the season.
"Mike has been in that role all year," Cahan said. "This is huge going into the playoffs now because they know they can come from behind like this."