Prep Baseball Report

3A State Semifinal: Montini takes down Dixon

Christian Barczi
Illinois Staff

Joliet, IL - Ryan Nelson had two hits and drove in two, Michael Sclafani allowed one earned run in a complete game effort, and the Broncos of Montini took down the Dixon Dukes 5-1 to earn a trip to the 3A state championship game tomorrow afternoon.

It didn’t take long for the offenses to get rolling, as four of the six total runs were scored in the first inning. Dixon leadoff man Andrew Long opened the game with a double and would soon cross home on an RBI groundout from Tucker Cole. From there, Montini starter, Sclafani, was dominant -- striking out 7 and allowing only three hits the rest of the way.

Looking to answer, Montini did just that, plating three runs in the bottom of the first behind a big one-out, two-run double from Eastern Kentucky commit Ryan Nelson.  

Dixon starting pitcher Payton Lawrence came into the afternoon 10-0 on the season and, following a shaky first, was dominant in his own right. Like his counterpart Sclafani, Lawrence went the distance while striking out ten and walking only two.

Nelson knew that it was going to be crucial for the Broncos to stick to their gameplan if it meant handing Lawrence his first loss all season, and they did just that. “We knew he was going to be around the zone, we knew he was going to be a pretty good pitcher, and we knew it was going to be a battle and that we had to put the ball in play to win the game.”

Sloppiness on defense allowed Montini to tack on one more run in the third and another in the sixth on a wild pitch. That proved to be more than enough, as the Dukes were unable to solve Sclafani all day long.

“Just a big time effort by Michael today”, said Broncos head coach Rich Janor. “For him to come out with the composure that he did on the big stage like this is expected at this point; he’s been on the big stage before and he’s been a big game pitcher for us.”

Following multiple disappointing playoff exits in recent years, the Broncos have finally put it all together at the most important time of the season. Next up for the Broncos are the Vikings of St. Laurence, who they will face in the 3A state title game on Saturday (6/8) at 11:00 a.m. at Joliet’s newly named DuPage Medical Group Field.

Top Performers:

  • CF Nate Kremkow (Montini): 2-for-2, BB, R

  • 2B Ryan Nelson (Montini): 2-for-3, 2RBI, R

  • SP Michael Sclafani (Montini): 7IP, 1ER, 5H, 7K