Continuing to display a never-say-die attitude the Swansea/Fairview Heights Giants kept their title hopes alive at the American Legion State Baseball Tournament on Friday in Arlington Heights.
Brady Schanuel pitched eight strong innings and Anthony Garza squeezed home the tie-breaking run in the bottom of the eighth as the Giants rallied for a 6-5 win over Northwest Chicago.
Fresh off a 6-5 consolation-round win over host Arlington Heights, Swansea/Fairview Heights was pushed to the limit again after its opponent, which featured players from Elk Grove, Palatine and Schaumburg, scored five runs in the sixth inning to take a 5-4 lead.
But keyed by Garza's suicide-squeeze bunt, the Giants (34-10) retook the lead in the eighth.
Reliever Collin Holton walked two in the top of the ninth inning, but retired the side as Swansea/Fairview Heights moved on in tournament play.
"We had a few things that didn't go our way, but the kids kept battling and were able to come out on top,'' Giants manager Craig Steiner said. "We had an obstruction call in the first inning, which cost us two runs, and then they (Northwest Chicago) had a couple of soft line drives fall just over the gloves of our infielders when they scored five runs in the sixth.
"But we hung in there. We played well. Brady (Schanuel) gave us eight strong innings and Collin (Holton) closed the door in the ninth. We played good defense and were able to get some clutch hits.''
The win moved the Giants into a second game Friday against Galesburg.
The final score of that game was unavailable at press time.
A second win Friday by Swansea/Fairview Heights, would earn it a bid in the state title game against Barrington on Saturday.
Barrington reached the title game with a 4-2 win over Galesburg on Friday.