After throwing 97 pitches the day before in a sectional win, Cody Silverthorn was called by Eureka in the final two innings to preseve a 7-6 lead against Oregon in the IHSA Class 2A super-sectional.
"During the (lighting) delay, he told me he wanted to finish the game if we had the lead," Eureka coach Dane Weir said.
Sliverthorn got the job done, very emphatically, in the seventh, as he struck out the side, sending the Hornets (25-10) to the state tournament. Oregon (15-15) advanced further in the state tournament than any Hawk baseball team in history and nearly pulled off another upset win.
"It was a dream for us," Oregon second-baseman Tyler Blume said. "It's hard to come up this short. We had played so well, but killed ourselves with errors tonight."
As they had all through the post season, the Oregon baseball team continued to get key contributions from its entire roster in giving Eureka all they could handle.
"That's definitely been the case. From top to bottom, everyone's played a part for us," Oregon coach Adam Albrecht said.
Oregon jumped off to a 4-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
Matt Murray started the Hawks off by reaching first base after being hit by a pitch. Ian Holley, a bunting specialist advanced Murray and got on base himself with a bunt single.
Mason Smith followed Holley's act with a bunt of his own to load the bases. It was Skylar Short coming through with 2-run double, bringing the large contingent off Hawks fans at Swanson Stadium in Moline to their feet.
"We dropped down a couple nice bunts and Skylar came up with another nice hit for us," Albrecht said.
With one out, Joey Rowe drove in two more runs with a single, making it 4-0.
"What worried me most was the weather," Weir said. "The umpires said if weather was a factor, it would be called after five innings."
In the bottom of the second, Eureka closed to within 4-2 on a standard single, a blooper single and line-drive single off Matt Murray.
Eureka tied the contest at 4-4 in the third inning. Harrison Frank went home on a passed ball and Jared McCunn scored off a single.
The Hawks regained the lead 6-4 in the next inning as Adam Bettner and Tyler Blume reached on a walk and HBP. The pair both came home on a long double to the far right-field fence by Alex Cain.
"It was right down the line, a beautiful hit," Albrecht said.
The Hornets came right back, aided by consecutive fielding and throwing errors by Oregon. Merrich Keller made it 6-5 by coming home on a sacrifice fly.
"We needed to shore up some things on defense," Albrecht said.
Oregon managed to get out of the inning, but weather became a factor. With the Hawks at bat in the top of the fifth inning, lightning was spotted and a 30-minute delay was called by the umpire at 7:26 p.m.
That initial delay led to several more lightning sightings, with the clock re-setting to 30 minutes each time. At 7:45, players from both teams began rolling the tarp out to cover the field. Finally, at 8:22 pm, play resumed and Eureka wasted little time in taking its first lead of the game, 7-6.
Consectutive doubles to the fence by McCunn and Noah Zobrist drove in the two runs and Eureka took control of the contest.