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Joliet West's Corey Gustafik (left) is unable to haul in the throw as Andrew's Mike Grenda (right) steals second base during the top of the first inning at Joliet West High School Friday, March 29, 2013, in Joliet. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media

Justin Jackson was looking for a fastball, and that’s exactly what the Joliet West first baseman got.

Jackson ripped a single up the middle in the bottom of the seventh with two outs to boost the host Tigers to an 8-7 victory over Andrew Friday afternoon.

“I was looking fastball the whole time and my previous at-bats I was slumping,” said Jackson, who was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base.

“I went up there and knew it was now or never,” Jackson said. “It was a fastball around the middle of the plate and away. I just poked it on through (to center). As soon as I hit it, I knew it was game over.”

Jackson’s RBI single ended a long afternoon for the Tigers (2-1), who had the game seemingly wrapped up in the sixth inning with a 7-5 lead.

But Andrew (3-3) scored twice in the bottom half of the sixth to tie the score at seven, sending the Tigers back to the drawing board. Andrew’s Dennis Vilmek scored when Joliet West junior pitcher Chad Benavidez balked, and then Kevin Walsh’s sacrifice fly scored Dan Durkin to tie it at 7-7.

“We have played these guys numerous times and we knew what they were about,” Jackson said. “We knew they were going to battle and that it was going to come down to this.”

Jackson, who will play football at Lindenwood University in Missouri, agreed with Joliet West coach John Karczewski that it took 24 hours for the Tigers to get over a 9-0 loss to Plainfield South.

“They beat us to a pulp,” Jackson said. “They had the mental and physical game down and we knew it right off the bat. We had a long talk after the game and we talked about our roles and how we didn’t want to end the season the way we did last year (losing in the regional semifinal).”

Benavidez got the victory for Joliet West in his first varsity appearance.

Ryan Forrest led the T-Bolts with two doubles. Vilmek and Mike Zwartz each had two singles. Tyler Jendra got the loss for Andrew. Jendra came on in relief in the sixth for starter Cameron Simak.

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