CALUMET CITY | Marian Catholic certainly didn't intend for all the drama involved in its 3A T.F. North Regional semifinal, but it will take the outcome any day.
The Spartans spotted Evergreen Park a 5-0 lead before coming back to win 8-7 in eight innings. With two men out in the bottom of the eighth, Devin Pickett hit a single to right-center field to score Patrick Swanson, who led off the inning with a walk.
"I got up to bat and I told myself, 'Don't do too much. Stay simple and put a ball on the barrel and good things happened,'" Pickett said. "This game as a whole pretty much defined our season."
The Spartans allowed six errors on the night and also allowed plenty of opportunities for the Mustangs to record the upset. After giving up five runs in the top of the second, Marian Catholic answered with five runs in the bottom of the frame.
"We'll take the W at this point," Marian Catholic coach Phil Wail said. "We know we have some things to work on. It was good to see them battle through and give us a chance for Saturday."
In the first semifinal of the night, Illiana Christian defeated T.F. North 10-1 to move on to face the Spartans in the 11 a.m. Saturday regional final. Mark Vanderzee was 4-for-4 with two runs scored in the win for the Vikings. Starter Josh VanBeek recorded the win, pitching 5 1/3 innings while striking out eight and allowing two hits.
"I was looking to try to just get ahead and stay ahead," VanBeek said, "throw some early strikes that way I could set up the tempo of the game."
The Spartans will send Brett Lilek to the mound against Illiana Christian's Braden Mulder, who beat the Spartans 7-3 on April 16.