Naperville North took a 3-0 lead into what turned out to be a disastrous third inning. Naperville Central tied up Saturday's regional final on a bizarre double steal that completely changed the momentum.
With runners on first and third, Central's Matt Cmiel broke toward second and drew a throw from catcher David McWilliams. It was right on line but no one was there, and it skipped straight into center. Nick Linne scored easily from third and Cmiel raced all the way home as Mike Fattore lost his footing in the outfield.
That was a pivot point in a 19-6 Central win that no one could have seen coming.
"Based upon our last game with Central, (they) attempted with two outs to score a run," North coach Carl Hunckler said afterward. "So we had on a play (where) the second baseman comes in front and the shortstop goes directly to the base.
"If there is a cut call, then (the) second baseman cuts it. (Shortstop) Alex Khoury sort of got blinded. For whatever reason, he didn't pick up the ball. So the ball should have went right into second. We didn't think we were gonna be able to throw that kid out anyway (because) of his speed. ... Mike Fattore came in so hard and it was slippery out. He slipped and didn't get up right away.
"But, again, it was now 3-3, two outs, nobody on base. We got to give them some credit too."