SENECA | To Brandon DuBois, his Beecher baseball team is 3-0 this season.
The rest doesn’t matter.
Despite entering the postseason with an 11-14 record and Thursday’s Class 2A Seneca Sectional semifinal against St. Bede with a losing mark, the Bobcats are still alive this postseason.
In Thursday’s sectional semifinal, Beecher used a three-run fifth inning to rally past St. Bede 5-2 and advance to Saturday’s 2 p.m. sectional final.
“I’ll take being .500 now,” DuBois joked. “At this point, the record is out the window. We’re 3-0 (in the postseason), and that’s what’s important.”
With the win, Beecher (14-14) advances to Saturday’s sectional championship where it will meet the winner of today’s semifinal between Chicago Christian and El Paso-Gridley.
Chicago Christian beat Beecher twice in early April, while the Bobcats have not faced EPG this season.
“I don’t think the regular season really matters as much,” Beecher pitcher Zach Aring said. “It can boost you into regionals if you have a good record, but we didn’t have a great record but we still worked hard. Now we are regional champions and a win from being sectionals champions.”
Aring helped to make sure Beecher advanced.
Despite allowing single runs in both the second and third innings and surrendering the lead, Aring settled in and shut down St. Bede the rest of the way.
Aring did not allow a run the final four innings and worked out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the seventh to seal the win.
He allowed two earned runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts and three walks to record the victory.
After St. Bede tied the game in the second and took the lead in the third, the Bobcats trailed until they came alive in the fifth.
With runners at first and third with one out, St. Bede starter Damin Smith threw an errant pick-off throw to first base to allow Beecher first baseman Dallas Saddler to score to tie the game at 2.
Two batters later, Bobcats third baseman Mike Pignatiello hit a two-run go-ahead double to the right-field wall to give Beecher a 4-2 lead.
“Pig did a good job battling,” DuBois said. “He had two strikes on him, kept fouling off pitches and finally got his pitch that we took (to right).”
The Bobcats tacked on a run in the seventh to take the three-run cushion.
After Aring recorded two quick outs in the bottom of the seventh, St. Bede loaded the bases for cleanup hitter Austin Schwab, but Aring induced an easy groundout to end the game and advance Beecher to the sectional final.
“It’s surreal, especially being under .500,” DuBois said. “This was our goal. Throughout our season, we talked about our goal of doing well in the playoffs, and that’s what we’re doing so far. We’re happy to be here.”