Bishop Noll just knew. Senior pitcher Eric Rodriguez knew his team would advance, he knew he could shake off his early-inning jitters and his coach Paul Writz knew that run support for his pitcher was inevitable.
This confidence, however, might have caused problems for the Warriors in the Class 2A Hanover Central Sectional Friday night.
A 13-4 final score ignores the fact the Warriors looked lethargic and unprepared when they first stepped on the field.
River Forest ripped off four early runs in the first two innings, capitalizing on two leadoff walks by Rodriguez, a passed ball and an error.
"We started off slow," said Coach Writz. "We didn't help our pitcher out, although two leadoff walks in the first two innings put up runs. Offensively, we missed some opportunities early on. We had some runners on base and didn't come up with the big hit, but we hit the ball hard enough where you knew it was coming. They did a good job of battling and finally broke through."
River Forest's sloppy play aided Bishop Noll in taking a 5-4 lead over the second and third innings, a lead the Warriors would not relinquish.
Senior A.J. Cardenas first basemen, who reached base three times and added three RBIs, was busy working the bench to get his team going.
"There's no way we wanted to go out in the first round of sectionals like this," said Cardenas. "It's all about support, so I was trying to get everybody pumped up."
After plowing through River Forest's lineup in the third and fourth innings with six straight outs, Rodriguez put himself in a bases loaded, no-out jam before firing two strikeouts in the fifth and three more in the sixth.
"We knew we were going to win, we just had to execute," Rodriguez said. "I was kind of nervous. It was my first time pitching in a sectional, but I calmed down. I basically just had to man up. I just had to have confidence in myself."
Bishop Noll's confidence spread like wildfire to end the game as they posted a whopping six-run seventh inning. Nearly everybody on the team tasted home plate as 10 different Warriors scored runs.