SPRINGFIELD—Wilmington plays baseball with panache. The Wildcats made sure they ended the season with a bang with a 12-0, five-inning victory over Montini in the Class A state championship game Saturday at Lanphier Park.
The Wildcats (41-1) won their third straight trophy and added a companion to their 2003 championship prize with relentless pressure.
Rob Murphy scored on Tony Vercelli's sacrifice fly to center. A Montini outfield error allowed Kyle Davis, Dillon Roark and Eric Dillon to record two-out RBI hits that staked Wilmington to a 4-0 first inning lead. Vercelli added a two-run single in the second, and Adam Kruchten contributed an RBI hit in the third to make it 7-0.
Meanwhile, Tanner Roark controlled Montini on the mound. He squirmed out of a potential bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second. A Broncos runner passed a teammate for the first out. The Illinois-bound right-hander ended the inning with two strikeouts. He finished the game with seven strikeouts in the two-hitter.
"I was running on adrenaline, and of course I was pumped up," said Roark, who recorded two wins and a save and five RBIs spread over the three games. "The state championship that's what we came to do, and we did it."
Kruchten, Davis, Murphy, Vercelli, Roark, Dillon and Nick Hansen started as sophomores for the 2003 title team. Each contributed at least one hit in the Wildcats' 22nd straight win. Wilmington's record is 102-10 over the last three seasons.
"We were on. It's the best we played all year," said Northwestern-bound catcher Vercelli, who notched three title-game RBIs. "We knew it was our last game together. Go out and play your best, and we did."
Montini's string of five one-run tournament wins came to an abrupt end in the loss. But the Broncos (26-12) kept their hardware streak alive, collecting their second trophy in two Elite Eight appearances (third in 2002).
"Their bats are great, everybody knows that, but they really had the pitching," Montini catcher Tom Wasilowski said. "It shut us down."
In the semifinals Montini ended Williamsville's 16-game win streak with a 5-4 victory. Will Halboth's first homer of the year, a two-run shot, broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the fourth.
Dillon (13-0) and Tanner Roark (first save) outdueled Teutopolis ace Lee Bloemer (8-1) in Wilmington's 1-0 win.