SOUTH BEND — South Central's captain's hat didn't make the trip Friday, but BJ Intagliata would have been wearing it if it had.
The Satellites senior struck out 11 and tossed his first career no-hitter as S.C. marched into Monday's Class A South Bend Career Academy Sectional final with a 13-0 whitewash of the host Trailblazers at Clay Field.
"It's nice and warm, a nice field," Intagliata said. "I feel like I got my tempo back, just trying to throw more first-pitch strikes, get ahead on batters."
Career Academy only put four balls in play and none of them exited the infield.
"The biggest thing we were able to do was give BJ, a senior who's been working hard his whole career, a ball and just have him go, just throw as many strikes as he can," S.C. coach Ryan Kruszka said. "He threw fantastic."
The heavily-favored Satellites made short work of the Trailblazers, sending 13 batters to the plate in a nine-run first inning, highlighted by Carson Husmann's bases-loaded triple. Kyle Schmack had an RBI single and RBI triple in the early onslaught. Trent Olling joined the triple club, plating two in the second.
"It doesn't matter what the score is, we still want guys to execute situations," Kruszka said. "Just putting the ball in play, running bases, just doing the right things. We try to do a lot of game situations in practice to simulate things we need to get better at, putting guys in pressure situations, getting guys thinking about situations. We make our practices faster than game speed so when it comes to the game, it feels slower. The plan is to go back and have a really sharp practice (today) and come back here Monday ready to go."
In the second game, LaCrosse entered the fifth inning tied with Oregon-Davis 9-9, then batted around twice, exploding for 14 runs and went on to win by the 10-run rule, 23-9.
"It was crazy," said Tiger Kaleb Frazier, who had three doubles among four hits. "They kept fighting back, but we stayed pretty strong mentally. It all just clicked. We all started hitting the ball and we kept hitting. We're finally coming together."
LaCrosse coach Chris McGowen recalled being on the short end of a 13-run first inning in miserable conditions at Kankakee Valley once, but never on the good side of such an offensive outburst, at least as a coach.
"Did you like the two touchdowns we put on the board?" McGowen said. "They never gave up. They were down, they came back, they were down, they came back. They battled back to tie it up (twice). They just ran out of pitchers. That's where that pitching rule comes in."
LaCrosse (4-17) scored five runs in the first and led 6-0 before coughing up the lead. It went back in front 9-6 before O-D knotted it again in the fourth on George Turner's three-run double.
Zach Brust ripped a pair of two-run doubles while Bradley Tucker was on base five times with a triple, single and three walks. Jesse Rhoda and Tucker, who worked a quick bottom of the fifth to end it, both knocked in three runs. Devin McCoy and Brandon Brust also had two hits.
"We've given ourselves a chance," McGowen said of Monday's final with South Central. "All we wanted was the opportunity and that's exactly where we're at. It'll be a tough one, but we're confident we can get it done. The funny thing about sports is on any given day, anybody can beat anybody."
Regardless of what the next game holds, Frazier, one of LaCrosse's four seniors, is proud to see the Tigers reach the finals, matching their entire regular-season win total in the sectional.
"It means so much," Frazier said. "It's my senior year, we've never reached that far. You never know what's going to happen."
Class A South Bend Career Academy Sectional
South Central 13, South Bend Career Academy 0 (5 innings)
LaCrosse 23, Oregon-Davis 9 (5 innings)