RANTOUL — What’s a regional championship game without a little drama?
Mahomet-Seymour had the tying run 90 feet away. With the heart of its lineup ready to hit.
It didn’t faze Anthony Martin.
The sophomore pitcher for Centennial settled down and because of it the top-seeded Chargers earned a 3-2 victory against the No. 3 Bulldogs on Saturday at the Class 3A Rantoul Regional title game at Wabash Park.
“He went the whole distance,” Centennial coach Rich Hyde said. “He showed that he had some experience underneath his belt. He was able to throw strikes and make them put the ball in play.”
Martin and Jack Rettig of Mahomet-Seymour threw complete games on a day where offense wasn’t in high demand. The Chargers produced five hits, the Bulldogs four.
Mahomet-Seymour led 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth before the Chargers came through with three runs, two on a clutch hit to left-center field by Zach Parks, to go ahead 3-2. That was all the run support Martin needed.
“It was a tight ballgame the whole way,” Hyde said. “Rettig did a really good job. He pitched just as well as Anthony did.”
The regional hardware the Chargers brought home with them is the program’s first such plaque since 2009, first for the senior class featuring the likes of Jeff Lavin, Grey Schultz, Drake Peratt and Brice Deaville, and first during Hyde’s tenure.
“That was one of their goals that they had written down there,” Hyde said. “I’m happy for them. Our seniors have provided some leadership throughout the year. They’re good kids and they work hard. They deserved the outcome.”
Next up for the Chargers is a trip to Springfield’s Lanphier Park for a sectional semifinal game against Chatham Glenwood at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“We’ll probably be the underdog in that,” Hyde said. “It’s good to get a regional title under our belts. We’ll just try and keep it going as long as we can.”