WHITING | Bishop Noll has answered the call to all competition on its way to a 24-3 record. Not that Warriors coach Paul Wirtz wants to hear anything about it.
Julian Guerrero had four hits and pitched the final three innings to earn a save as the Warriors beat Wheeler 11-5 to advance to the Class 2A Whiting sectional final.
The win was Bishop Noll's third over the rival Bearcats this season.
"We're not really concerned with what we did in the regular season," Wirtz said. "Sure, the record looks nice, but our real season started with our first postseason game. The postseason means everything to us."
The Warriors jumped out to early lead, scoring nine runs over the first three innings as Larry Crisler and Danny Pobereyko each scored twice in the first two frames. Pobereyko finished with three hits one night after a strong pitching performance against Whiting in the opening round.
"We're playing really well right now," Pobereyko said. "We're playing with a lot of confidence."
Guerrero drove in two runs in the first and later scored in the third as the senior reached base in every trip to the plate.
"We knew that we had to come out strong today, especially knowing they could score some runs," Guerrero said. "I was just trying to do whatever I could to win. Sometimes it's the little things, maybe just a bunt or a sacrifice. We just want to win right now."
Tyler Crussen had two hits and scored a pair of runs in his final high school game for the Bearcats (14-14). Crussen is one of just six Wheeler seniors.
"We've got a young group, and we got a lot of experience (Friday)," Wheeler coach Josh Long said. "We had a couple chances where we could've laid down to them, but our guys kept battling. I'm really proud of my group."
River Forest shortstop Ryan Slavey redeemed himself from a tough defensive output in the nightcap, scoring from first base by virtue of two throwing errors in the top of the seventh inning as the Ingots knocked off Lake Station 4-3.
Slavey had three errors in the fourth inning that led to two Lake Station runs. The Eagles later tied the game on their first hit of the night in the fifth inning. Slavey's heroics extended to the bottom of the seventh where the sophomore shortstop fielded a tough grounder on the final play of the game to retire the side.
The Ingots (8-16) will take on Bishop Noll in the sectional championship game on Monday morning at Oil City Stadium. The Warriors are looking for their second consecutive sectional championship.