Neuqua Valley had just tied the game and Sean Smith inherited a difficult situation - runners on the corners and one out. The momentum was shifting away from Waubonsie Valley in the fifth inning but Smith struck out Alex Lincoln swinging and then got Jeff Dean to ground out to end the threat.
Smith allowed two baserunners in the sixth, and singles in the seventh and eighth, but the junior kept it together in 3.2 scoreless innings in a 5-3 victory. Smith (2-0) earned the win and Waubonsie the sweep on Saturday in Naperville.
The relief effort bought some time for Kris Singh, who drilled an inside fastball from Craig Provow - the same one he'd seen in summer ball - and deposited it beyond the right-field fence for the go-ahead solo home run in the eighth.
Singh (2-3) gutted it out earlier in the day, pitching into the seventh inning of a sloppy 11-9 win
loss. Kevin Kirchner then notched his first save of the season. Neuqua (13-8, 8-3) and Waubonsie (10-9, 9-4) just made the Upstate Eight Conference race a lot more interesting. The District 204 rivals will meet again May 15.
"We've been on a roll lately," Singh said. "We came up here with a positive attitude, swinging sticks and playing D. We'll be fine."