By Christopher Johnson

The Saturday, May 21 victory over the Stillman Valley Cardinals gave the Byron Tigers award one of the 2022 Class 2A State Baseball Playoffs.

Tigers fans hope there are many more to come, starting this week as the Regional Champion travels to Stillman Valley for the Sectional round.

In order for Byron to get its shot at the second honor of the second season they have to dispatch Aurora Central Catholic this Thursday.

The May 26 match will be game two of the Class 2A Sectional with the Championship scheduled for Saturday, May 28.

The path to the Sectional started for the two-seed Tigers in a shut-out of Big Northern neighbor Rock Falls.

The Rockets were shot down and carried their six-seed designation to the sidelines following the 6-0 decision.

Victory pushed Byron into the Regional Title match at home against upset-minded Stillman Valley.

The Saturday tilt featured the five-seed Cardinals getting their chance to perform courtesy of a ten-run rule defeat of three-seed North Boone.

The Vikings scored two runs, which was well below their season average of nearly six per outing during the Big Northern regular season.

A large crowd greeted the two Route 72 neighbors as they took the field at Byron on Saturday. From the onset, it appeared scoring could be a difficult occurrence.

After the first full inning of play the match remained scoreless. Stillman Valley batted in the top of the second, with nothing to show for the effort.

As the top-seed Byron tackled the pitches in the home half of the second, things started connecting. By the end of the frame a 2-0 advantage had been secured by the two-seed Tigers.

Stillman Valley responded in the top of the third and plated a single tally, making it a one-run game with a lot of baseball to be played.

Byron came back in the bottom of the third and rebuilt the two-run advantage. The single run scored made it 3-1 heading through the mid-innings.

The fourth inning played much like the opening period had. Neither team pushed across a runner keeping the game set at the two-run edge.

Stillman Valley came back again in the top of the fifth. A good exchange of runner interactions allowed add-on plating. Into the bottom of the fifth, it was back to a one run game, 3-2, Byron in front.

Pitching limitations impacted the visiting Cardinals in the bottom of the fifth. The smoothness of the earlier innings activity slipped.

The Tigers tacked on three runs, giving Stillman Valley six outs to work with to try to change what could be the outcome.

With the score 6-2 and as Byron batted in the home sixth, another runner made the way around the diamond, insuring the victory to be with the 7-2 lead.

Stillman Valley would not score again and finished as the 2022 runner up in the Class 2A Byron Boys Baseball Regional.

The Tigers take on Aurora  Central Catholic on Thursday at Stillman Valley High School with first pitch scheduled for 4:30pm.

The Chargers were issued the two-seed in the Class 2A State Tournament and enters the match sporting a season showing of 25-10. They were the third place finisher in the Metro Suburban-Blue Conference.

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