MEQUON, Wisc. — High school summer baseball in Wisconsin just didn’t want to end.
Frankie Cistaro and Muskego, however, had a different plan.
Cistaro lined a two-out, walk-off single to complete a dramatic eighth-inning comeback and lift the Warriors to a 2-1 victory over Pius XI in the state championship game on Friday night at Kapco Park.
Pinch-runner Richard Wauer slid safely into home plate with the winning run to give Muskego its first summer baseball state title as well as its last, as it was the final game of WIAA summer baseball with the organization only offering spring baseball beginning next season.
“This is our first state championship in baseball. This happens to be the last summer one also, and the fact that’s it’s our first one is something that they will never forget,” Muskego head coach Jacob Paige said. “I don’t know if anyone can say they’ve seen a better high school baseball game than that.”
If anyone has — and those at the 2002 title game that Muskego lost to West Bend East might want a word — then it wasn’t by much.
Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the eighth a Gino D’Alessio sacrifice fly put the Popes (30-4) on top, the Warriors had two outs to spare when they made one final, desperate push.
Facing D’Alessio, who entered as the pitcher in the eighth to close out the game having not allowed a run in 9⅓ innings on the season, Muskego junior Cooper Tamblyn sparked the rally with a one-out double to right and immediately advanced to third on a wild pitch.
Paige didn’t have to think about what to do next. He just went with his gut.