A Six-Run Fifth Inning Catapults Mundelein to 4A State Final

By Drew Locascio 
Illinois Scouting Director

Mundelein 10, St. Charles North 4

JOLIET, IL – No. 21 Mundelein will play for the Class 4A State Title on Saturday thanks to an offensive surge late in the game, leading to a 10-4 win over No. 8 St. Charles North. The Mustangs scored nine of their 10 runs in the final three innings.

Facing a 4-1 deficit in the top of the fifth, the Mustangs answered with six runs, taking command of the game and never looking back. The big blow in the inning was an opposite field grand slam by designated hitter Zack Zagula. Zagula, came in hitting .191 on the year with nine RBI, before the game changing grand slam. The big blast changed the complexion of the game and gave Mundelein a 5-4 lead at the time. Mundelein tacked on one more run in the frame thanks to a Reid Rubio, a Minnesota-Duluth commit’s, two-out run scoring single to left-center field.

Mundelein (31-9) put the game out of reach, scoring three more runs in the top of the seventh inning, extending the lead to 10-4. Brett Parola, Rubio and Nick Stricker delivered RBI doubles in the inning.

St. Charles North (32-7) had all the momentum early, jumping out to a 4-1 lead on Mundelein’s ace, junior Brendan Murphy. They scored two in the second, one in the third and one in the fourth off of the big left-hander. Zach Fick, an Illinois-Springfield commit, added a run-scoring single in the second. He also hit a double and scored the one run in the fourth.

Murphy, an Arizona State commit, settled in after Mundelein took the lead in the fifth inning. Sitting 86-89 mph most of the night with his fastball, Murphy did not allow a hit over the final two frames of work and stuck out four. Murphy used a steady mix of his three-pitch repertoire throughout the night. His changeup, which sat 78-80 mph flashed plus potential, getting a number of swing-and-misses and fly balls. He also flashed a tight slider at 76-79 mph, using it to get ahead of hitters and finish them off when need be.

No. 21 Mundelein will look to ruin No. 10 Providence Catholic’s quest for a record third straight 4A State Title as they match up on Saturday night at 7 p.m.  

+ LHP Brendan Murphy (Mundelein) – 6IP, 6H, 4R, 2ER, 7K, 2BB
+ 3B Nick Stricker (Mundelein) – 3-for-5, 2 2B, 2RBI, 2R
+ LF Ryan Fairweather (Mundelein) – 2-for-3, R, BB
+ 1B Brett Parola (Mundelein) – 2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI
+ 2B Zach Fick (St. Charles North) – 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, R
+ RF John LeGare (St. Charles North) – 2-for-3, 2B, R, BB