Junior Noah Tyrrell helped highlight a four run fifth inning with a two-run home run and drove in five runs, as Crystal Lake South defeated Edwardsville 8-3 on Saturday in the Class 4A state championship game at Joliet Slammers Stadium.
Tyrrell gave the Gators an early lead with a two-run triple in the first inning, added a run-scoring single in the third and put the game out of reach with a two-run home run off Edwardsville starter Kade Burns in the fifth. The five-RBI night is a Class 4A state title game record.
Ryan Parquette added a two-run home run — also in the fifth inning — for Crystal Lake South (36-5) which captured its first state championship.
“I think he’s the MVP of the tournament,” Gators coach Brian Bogda said of Tyyrell. “He’s been seeing the ball very well lately, and he’s been going with the pitch. Tonight, he didn’t try to do anything special. He just put good swings on the baseball.
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“It’s great for the our kids and the community. But its also great for our league (Fox Valley).”
Edwardsville (34-8) scored twice off Gators winning pitcher Andrew Engelking in the first inning and got a solo home run from freshman Drake Westcott in the sixth inning. But the Tigers couldn’t match the performances of Tyrrell and Engelking.
“That’s baseball. Sometimes you come out, play hard and the other team is just better than you were on that night,” Tigers senior Dylan Burris said. “You tip your cap to them. It’s disappointing to lose of course, but to finish second in the state is a great accomplishment.”
The second-place finish is the third in school history for Edwardsville, which won state championships in both 1990 and 1998.
“Sometimes it just isn’t your night,” an emotional Tigers coach Tim Funkhouser said. “I’m just so proud of these kids on this baseball team.
“As a coach you build relationships with the players, and you want to have them experience the same kind of excitement that I did when we won the state championship when I was a player. We started the season playing in the Joliet challenge and to be here tonight, playing in the last game of the season ... it’s been a great year.”
Making just its second state tournament appearance and first since 1993, Crystal Lake South scored three runs in the first inning off Burns.
Griffin Bright led off with a single and went to second on a bunt by Ryan Parquette. Both runners then moved up a base on a wild pitch. Burns, entering the game with a 10-1 record, then retired the next two hitters.
But Tyrrell hit a 2-1 pitch into the left-center field gap for a two-run triple. Tyrrell also scored on the play when Edwardsville center fielder Dylan Burris’s throw was wild and eluded the cutoff man.
Burris quickly made up for his miscue in the bottom of the inning.
Facing Engelking for the first time, Burris hit the third pitch from the Gators ace for a double and went to third on a ground out by freshman Drake Westcott. He then scored the Tigers’ first run of the night on a wild pitch.
Edwardsville added a run later in the inning when Joel Quirin reached on an error and scored when Andrew Yancik came through with a run-scoring single. It was the fourth RBI of the tournament for Yancik, who drove in all three runs and was the winning pitcher in the Tigers’ 3-1 semifinal win over St. Laurence on Friday.
But Engelking (9-0) would allow just three hits and one run over the next six innings. Westcott’s home run in the fifth cut the Gators’ lead to 8-3.