Hitmen have ‘pretty good run’

Sarah Nader -
McHenry Cobras' Ian Grubich runs toward third during the sixth inning of Saturday's  13 U MCYSA game against Select Baseball at Lippold Park in Crystal Lake August 3, 2013. The Cobras lost, 6-8.
Sarah Nader - McHenry Cobras' Ian Grubich runs toward third during the sixth inning of Saturday's 13 U MCYSA game against Select Baseball at Lippold Park in Crystal Lake August 3, 2013. The Cobras lost, 6-8.

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Illinois Hitmen left the McHenry County Youth Sports Association Summer International Championships tying for fifth place in the 15-and-under Gold Bracket, yet feeling they could have done more.

The Hitmen fell to Hitters (Wis.) Baseball, 4-3, on Saturday in a losers’ bracket game. The Hitmen, comprised of players from Hampshire, Genoa-Kingston, Jacobs, Marian Central and Woodstock, have 158-16 record over the last three seasons.

“We didn’t play up to par, but we got some wins,” Hitmen coach Dave Rominski said.

The Hitmen lost to Wisconsin Elite, 7-4, Friday to fall to the losers’ side. Hitters pitcher August Pfaff threw a complete game against the Hitmen Saturday to put the Hitters two victories from playing for the title.

“We didn’t play to our full potential,” said Hitmen shortstop Trey Schramm, a junior at Hampshire. “We still had a pretty good run. We were hitting some balls hard. We played good solid defense, but we couldn’t get the timely hits.”

The Hitmen will merge into Top Tier, one of the Chicago area’s top travel programs, next year.

“They’re taking our whole team,” Rominski said. “All our kids want to go play in college and that’s an elite program that gets a lot of exposure.”

In the 15U Gold Bracket, the Mac N Seitz Red Sox defeated Wisconsin Elite, 4-3, in 10 innings to advance to the championship game.

Illinois Elite meets Wisconsin Elite at 9 a.m. Sunday with the winner advancing to play the Red Sox, who have not lost, in the championship of the double-elimination tournament.

13U tournament: The McHenry County Hurricanes won three games Saturday to advance to the semifinals in the Gold Bracket, which was single elimination.

The Hurricanes defeated the Woodstock Lightning (10-0), Perfect Game (5-1) and Hitters (Wis.) Baseball (11-0) to make it to Sunday’s 11 a.m. semifinal game against Select Baseball Gold. The winner advances to the 2 p.m. championship game.

“It was the best day of baseball these boys have put together all year,” Hurricanes coach Keith Nisenson said. “We outscored three quality teams, 26-1. We hit the heck out of the ball, we pitched well and played great defense. We did everything right.”

The Hurricanes are 39-27-1 for the season, but Nisenson said he intentionally organized a challenging schedule.

“If someone told me we’d be playing on Sunday in this tournament, in the final four teams, I’d have said, ‘Unlikely,’ ” Nisenson said. “But we’re here.”

The McHenry Cobras saw their season come to an end with an 8-6 loss to Select Gold, 8-6, in a 13U Gold Bracket game Saturday. That bracket is single elimination, so the Cobras finished at 52-20-2 for the season.

“It’s been a nice run,” Cobras coach Mike Stewart said. “We have one more in us.”

The Cobras started with 10 of their current 12 players as 9-year-olds. They lost five next year who have to move up in age, but replaced three of them through recent tryouts.

The Cobras finished 3-1 in their pool and knew Select Gold would be tough, despite its 1-3 pool record.

“We’ve played against them since we’re 9,” Stewart said. “We’ve been battling back and forth. Our kids know each other, so even though it was a tight game, they were talking to each other. [Select] is a great team with great kids.”

Select went on to win its next two games to reach the semifinals.

The Algonquin Storm will play the Lake in the Hills Thunder at 8 a.m. Sunday in on Silver Bracket semifinal, with the Crystal Lake Bombers and Mount Prospect Mavericks meeting in the other. That championship game is set for 2 p.m.

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