Baseball steals MSL title

Boys capture MSL title on May 21 against Palatine
Boys capture MSL title on May 21 against Palatine.

By Tess Bauer
Online Editor
In the top of the fourth inning of the MSL Championship Game Saturday at the newly renamed Larry Pohlman Field, Palatine’s Kurt Becker drilled a grounder to right field, but Prospect second basemen, senior Matt Molini, snared it on one hop and made a quick throw to shortstop senior Luke Bergman for the out at second.
Bergman then whipped around for a hard throw to first basemen senior Brian Bauer. Bauer stretched out caught it with barely a second to spare and got Becker out. The crowd roared as the boys made their way back to the dugout with the Knights trailing 6-3. The boys were met with slaps on the back and high-fives.
That double play marked a turning point in the game. “That [play] got us really energized,” junior Jack Landwehr said. Landwehr played third base and then pitched the closing innings for the Knights. This Saturday the MSL Championship title was reclaimed for the fifth Championship win since 2003. The hotly contested game went beyond the usual seven innings and Prospect won in the eighth inning, 8-7. Landwehr made the game winning at bat. He ripped it to right center for a double that brought Bergman home. “I still can’t believe it,” Landwehr said. Prospect came at Palatine with determination, even after adversity in the first and second inning with Palatine winning 6-1. This isn’t something new to the Knights.
“Well, we’ve done it all year,” Landwehr said. “Fremd for example we were down 8-3 and we came back with eight straight runs and the final score was 11-8.” On defense Prospect had to be on top of their game since “Palatine came out swinging,” head coach Ross Giusti said. Palatine’s four-year varsity senior Cody Bobbit’s three run homer emphasized this in the second inning.
Senior Steve Dazzo thwarted the next home run attempt with an over the fence catch in left field. “I knew [senior] Ben [Menich] would keep us in it,” Landwehr said. Menich pitched the first five innings with Landwehr coming in at the sixth to close. At one point Landwehr had five outs in six pitches. That was made possible by Prospect’s strong defensive.
“I trust my defense with my whole heart,” Landwehr said.
But more than defense was needed if Prospect wanted to grab the championship title. Prospect was hitting up and down the line up.  Bauer, who had two doubles and two RBI’s, and Landwehr, who also had two RBI’s and the game-winning double, led the team. “Every kid wanted the bat in their hand,” Giusti said Molini also made an impact with his first home run of the season in the fifth inning and a sacrifice bunt in the eighth inning that helped secure Prospect’s victory.
You have to know it’s for the good of the team,” Molini said. “[You] sacrifice yourself for the team and get the job done.”
Off the field the Prospect crowd played a critical role keeping the team upbeat even when faced with the 6-1 deficit. The stands were filled with friends, family, Prospect players from the lower level baseball and softball teams, and even a pet golden retriever who added a bark here and there. The crowd stuck with Prospect through the on and off rain until they were awarded their MSL Championship trophy.
“The crowd was outstanding,” Landwehr said.
IMG_0480 After the players shook hands and Landwehr accepted the MSL Championship trophy for Prospect, Giusti talked to the team and gave out game balls to Bauer, Landwehr and Molini for their performances in the game. This was also a big game as it was the last home game of the season. Prospect will compete May 25 for the beginning of regional play. “I hope we can carry this into playoffs,” Giusti said.