Baseball: Libertyville falls to Palatine in regional title game
Palatine Saturday, 5/26/12 Libertyville's Nick Coutre (12) is tagged out by Palatine catcher, Michael Czamik (22) during the fifth inning of Saturday's Regional Championship game. Palatine won the game, 6-3, and will face Mundelein next Wednesday at the Glenbrook South Sectional. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 29, 2012 11:12PM
Nick Coutre, one of the stars for Libertyville, plays an exciting brand of baseball.
And the senior outfielder, who will play at Villanova next season, is not one to hide his passion.
So, his reaction to being called out at home plate in the fifth inning of Saturday’s Class 4A regional final at Palatine was rather telling.
Coutre threw up his arms in utter disbelief.
What did that tell Jim Schurr, head coach of the Wildcats?
“He was so safe,” the veteran coach stated.
What the umpire might not have seen?
“The catcher bobbled the ball,” said Schurr.
Breaks were hard to come by for Libertyville. The No. 5 seeded Cats (24-12) battled from behind the whole way and wound up being eliminated by Palatine 6-3.
To their credit, the Pirates (18-19), who also won a regional crown last spring, certainly didn’t play like a 14th seed. They finished with 14 hits and had a threat going in every inning.
“Tip your cap to them,” said Schurr, who is a long-time friend of Palatine head coach Paul Belo. “They swing the bats well from 1 to 9.”
Coutre, who made the NSC all-conference team along with Anthony Mack, Darwin Townsend and Kyle Cibrario, tried to spark the offense. He reached on two singles and a walk.
Matt Vogt also had two hits.
The Wildcats’ best offensive inning came in the fourth, when sophomore catcher Evan Skoug drilled a pitch over the center-fielder’s head for a double. Then, after Townsend reached on an error, Skoug came around when Vogt pulled a single to right field. A little later, Townsend scored on a sacrifice fly by Kevin McQuillen to cut Palatine’s lead in half, 4-2.
The fifth inning also looked promising for the Wildcats. With one out, Coutre drew a walk and went to third on an opposite-field single by Mack. Skoug then hit a medium flyball into the stiff wind in center field. His potential sacrifice fly turned into a double play when Coutre was called out at home on a strong throw by Palatine’s Eric Scheuermann.
The Wildcats’ final run came in the sixth inning, when Vogt scored on a throwing error by the catcher.
Townsend started for Libertyville and went five innings. All six runs, including three in the third, were charged to the big right-hander, who will next pitch at Augustana.
“He gritted it out,” said Schurr.