Arguably, the best part of Mike Snow’s run-scoring triple was the salute.
After lacing a pitch into the right-field gap to score teammate Joey Petroline from second, the junior second baseman took off like a 100-yard dasher.
And, after safely sliding into third, Snow immediately popped up and saluted his Glenbrook South teammates in the first-base dugout.
Triples are fun.
A triple especially is fun, when you smack it off a pitcher like Brendan Murphy. The highly touted Mundelein High School left-hander has been recruited to pitch at Arizona State University.
Snow’s smash in the top of the fifth inning, along with a one-out double down the line by Petroline, changed the tone of this Class 4A regional semifinal game on May 24.
Behind Murphy’s mastery — allowing one hit over the first four frames — the No. 3 seeded Mustangs, who took second in state last spring, were in cruise control. They were leading 4-0.
An inning later, the No. 14 Titans (13-16) did something that few teams have done. They knocked Murphy out of the game by plating four more runs.
Still, it wasn’t enough. The Mustangs, who tallied four runs in the first and four more in the sixth, held on to win the game 8-6 and advance to Saturday’s regional title game.
GBS head coach Steve Stanicek loved the way his team battled back.
“Snow gets that triple, and all of sudden, our team is thinking, ‘we can hit this guy,’ ” said Stanicek. “Our guys are thinking, ‘maybe, we can make this happen.’ ”
It certainly didn’t look that way in the early going. Murphy, who finished the game with 10 strikeouts, fanned the side in the third inning. He looked to be in a groove.
“He’s best pitcher that we’ve seen all year,” Stanicek said. “But we chipped away. We started figuring him out.
“We competed today. And I’m super proud of that,” the coach added. “With the way the game started, things could’ve gotten real ugly for us.”
Senior third baseman Cameron Pauly, who earned all-CSL South honors along with senior Tommy Mahar and sophomore Brandon Matias, drove in Snow with a groundout in the fifth inning. He then added a two-run single in the four-run sixth.
GBS’s sixth inning started with back-to-back-to-back singles by junior first baseman Simon Farber, junior catcher Connor Nash and junior centerfielder Jack Anderson.
Senior leftfielder Jacob Smiley kept the inning alive, when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Petroline then brought in a run with an infield single against Mundelein reliever Will Michalski, who eventually worked his way out of the jam.
The season came to an end for GBS, when the Titans went down in order in the seventh inning against Mundelein closer Zach Zentz.
Notable: Connor Nash was solid behind the plate. The junior catcher threw out a Mundelein runner trying to steal in the second inning. Then, in the fifth inning, he made a diving catch on a popup behind home plate. … Mundelein finished the game with eight hits against three GBS hurlers: Tommy Mahar, John Miskella and Cameron Pauly. The decisive hit proved to a two-run double by No. 8 hitter Andrew Beres in the bottom of the fifth inning to give the Mustangs an 8-2 lead. … Four Titans — Pauly, Mahar, Camden Mahler and Jacob Smiley — will be playing in the CSL Senior All-Star Game at Oakton Community College on June 12. Three Titans — Jack Anderson, Brandon Matias and Jacob Newman — have been selected to play in the 2017 Chicagoland Classic. … In a regional quarterfinal game on May 22, GBS defeated visiting Zion-Benton 13-4. Farber (2 hits, 3 RBIs), Smiley (2 RBIs), Matias (2 RBIs) and Mike Snow (2 hits) led the way.