Dueling host Arlington Heights in an elimination game Thursday at the American Legion State Baseball Tournament, the Swansea/Fairview Heights Giants bought themselves at least another night in the Chicago area.
In fact, the Giants took a sightseeing trip to the Windy City's downtown area following a 6-4 victory over Arlington Heights earlier in the day.
The Giants (33-10) broke open a close game by scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth to secure a 5-2 lead. They added another run in the eighth, then held off a late rally by Arlington Heights to stay alive in the double-elimination tourney.
"This was the game that we play when we're playing well, we had good defense and good pitching," Swansea/Fairview Heights manager Craig Steiner said. "Our pitching was really good today."
Starter Tyler Herbert was followed by Tyler Scimio and Collin Holton on the mound. Scimio got the win and Holton got the save.
Herbert allowed five hits and one run in five innings, walking five and striking out six. Scimio allowed three hits and three runs in 3 1/3 innings while Holton recorded the final two outs to nail down the win.
Giants center fielder Domonic Blaylock had a big game, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs in the leadoff spot. One of those RBIs came on an eighth-inning RBI single that gave the Giants some much-needed breathing room.
"He leads the way for us," Steiner said. "When he gets on base and does it early ... it's almost as if he gets on in the first inning we're going to have a good day. He's the gas that makes the engine run."
Steiner said Belleville East right-hander Brady Schanuel will be on the mound for the Giants' 11 a.m. game against Northwest. Northwest lost 4-3 to Galesburg on Thursday.
Schanuel had a big day at the plate Thursday, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
The winner of the Swansea/Fairview Heights-Northwest game will play again Friday night while the loser is eliminated.
Steiner said Arlington Heights started a tough left-hander that kept his team off-stride early, but the Giants finally broke through.
The Giants' Dean Gerros drove in a run with a single in the fourth. After Arlington Heights took the lead with single runs in the fifth and sixth, the Giants answered with a four-run sixth inning.
Robert Guithues was trying to bunt and fouled off two pitches, but the runners moved up to second and third on a passed ball. Guithues hit a ground ball off the shortstop's glove and two runs scored.
Blake Deatherage, who was 2-for-4 with an RBI, had a successful squeeze bunt for the Giants.