Dalesandro, Fellows lead No.1 JCA past No. 9 Lockport



By Drake Skleba
Senior Writer

JOLIET -
Senior Nick Dalesandro and junior Drake Fellows: best of friends off the field; solid teammates on the field for No.1-ranked Joliet Catholic Academy. After leading JCA to an unprecedented 2014 IHSBCA/Phil Lawler Summer State championship last July, the two Plainfield residents teamed up once again to lead the Hilltoppers to another victory.

In an 11th Annual WJOL/Don Ladas Memorial Invitational Tournament quarterfinal game on Thursday, Fellows and Dalesandro led the Hilltoppers past the ninth-ranked Porters of Lockport, 12-3. Fellows allowed just three hits and one run in his stellar six-inning performance, striking out 10 Porters and only walking one. Dalesandro had four hits, including a double and drove home four Hilltopper runs, more than Fellows needed to improve to 2-0 on the mound for JCA (4-0) this season.

Lockport (2-2) came out swinging against the Vanderbilt-recruit Fellows in the early innings. The Porters jumped out in front on a clutch two-out RBI double by Porter first baseman Stephen Hill. Rockets of the bats of sophomore third baseman Gavin Lovesky and Anthony Coco in the second were, fortunately for Fellows, hit directly at Hilltoppers. Fellows picked up his second strikeout of the game to close out the second and would fire four shutout innings to finish off his day.

“After the rough first two innings I had to make some adjustments. I am not a one-pitch pitcher and I had to pitch backwards, throwing change-ups and curveballs to some of the good Lockport batters,” Fellows said. “I’m really confident hitting the ball and coach has a lot of confidence in me in the cleanup spot. Nick is an outstanding player. He does everything so well. We’ve been best friends forever and it’s great being with him on our team. We have a great offensive team and I’m hoping we can continue our hitting on Saturday against Plainfield Central.”

Purdue-bound Dalesandro’s clutch two-out two RBI single in the third put the Hilltoppers up to stay 2-1. The two runs were the first of five unearned runs JCA would pick up against Lockport ace, Illinois bound Cole Bellair (0-1). Three more unearned Hilltopper runs would cross the plate in the top of the fourth, highlighted by junior second baseman Max Brzostowski’s, clutch two-out two RBI single, to make it 5-1 JCA.  

Fellows and Mike Quiram had RBI doubles in the fifth to make it 7-1. Dalesandro struck again in the fifth, driving home a pair on his fourth hit of the game, and hard hit liner up the middle, and Connor Brandon made it 10-1 Hilltoppers with an RBI double, the fourth double for JCA on the night. Iowa-bound Mitch Boe ripped an RBI triple and sophomore KC Simonich, would join the hit parade with another RBI double in the top of the seventh.

“I am out to prove that I can do both jobs well: behind and at the plate,” Dalesandro said, ”I was very aggressive today at the plate and had a big day. I wanted to go 5-for-5, too, but I unfortunately struck out, in my last plate appearance.”

Dalesandro played well behind the plate, throwing out two would be base stealers. He added on Fellows, “Drake is outstanding every time he pitches. All I have to do is put my glove down and he does the rest. This was a great victory over a great rival Lockport team and we look to continue to play well on Saturday against a good Plainfield Central team.”

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