HARRISBURG — A seven-run second inning was more than enough support for Freeburg senior right-hander Nick Yung, who struck out seven and allowed four hits in a 9-3 victory over Chester that gave the Midgets the Class A Harrisburg Sectional championship.
The Midgets (29-8) advanced to the Elite 8 for the first time since 2005 and will take on Teutopolis at 5 p.m. Monday in the Sauget Super-Sectional at GCS Ballpark.
After spotting Chester (23-9) a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, Freeburg sent 10 men to the plate in the top of the second. The big blow came when Freeburg sophomore catcher Keegan Baxmeyer cleared the bases with a three-run double after Chester had intentionally walked the hitter in front of him.
"We did not play well there in the bottom of the first inning," Freeburg coach Drew Gericke said. "We haven't played like that all postseason. To overcome that, and to put the runs on the board that we did after that, was huge."
Yung (8-0) settled into a groove after his early trouble in the first and retired 13 batters in a row before allowing a single to Chester's Luke Hartman in the fifth.
"He (Yung) didn't have the feel for his off-speed (pitches) early," Gericke said. "A team that is already in the sectional, much less the sectional final, they're going to hit fastballs.
"Without that off-speed, they were laying off of it and sitting fastball. Actually, the more pitches he threw, the better it got."
After pitching an inning and earning a save in the sectional semifinals Wednesday, Chester ace Jake Lochhead only lasted into the third inning.
"We left the ball over the plate way too much for them," Chester coach Jeremy Blechle said. "We knew Freeburg, one through nine, can absolutely kill the ball -- and they did."
Freeburg shortstop Chris Smith had three hits and drove in a run. Jake Homann, Yung and Derricke Rozycke all had two hits for the Midgets.
Jordan Berner and Austin Redeker each drove in runs for the Yellow Jackets, who were appearing in the sectional for the first time in 12 years.