Prep Baseball Report

Drake Fellows' Nearly Pefect Relief Leads No. 1 Joliet Catholic over No. 18 Brother Rice

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

Joliet, IL – Earlier in the day the PBR scouting staff finished rolling out the 2015 Preseason Power 50 Preview, highlighting the top 50 teams in the state of Illinois. On Friday afternoon at Gillespie Field in Joliet we got a first-hand look at No. 1 Joliet Catholic taking on No. 18 Brother Rice. With the No. 1 prospect in Illinois’ 2017 class, RHP Ryan Kutt, on the hill for the Crusaders against the top-ranked Hilltoppers, this was a game circled on our schedule due to the amount of talent present on the field, and neither team failed to disappoint as the Hilltoppers (1-0) handed the Crusaders (1-1) a 10-3 loss.

Kutt was sharp early, striking out the first two hitters he faced in a scoreless first inning. His counterpart, SIU-Edwardsville-bound Danny Ehrsam was equally sharp in the first carving up Crusader hitters with an 85-88 mph fastball.

Despite it being a cold day, the wind was blowing out in Joliet, and hitters took advantage. Brother Rice senior catcher Michael Schalasky opened up the scoring in the top of the second with a lead off solo homer to left field, giving the Crusaders a 1-0 lead. Joliet Catholic answered in the bottom half of the frame with a bomb of its own, this of the two-run variety, to deep right field off the bat of junior power-hitting first baseman Jack Howard.

Down 2-1, Brother Rice shortstop Mike Massey (an Illinois commit) led off the third with a towering homer to deep right-center field, an estimated 400-plus feet from home plate, just to the right of the “Green Monster” batter’s eye at Gillespie Field. Junior left-fielder Danny Paluch followed with a triple to center, scoring on junior center fielder Andrew Dyke’s sacrifice fly to center, regaining the lead for Brother Rice 3-2.

The Joliet Catholic bats accepted the challenge in the bottom half of the third, erupting for three unearned runs. Sophomore left fielder KC Simonich doubled down the first baseline scoring senior second baseman Max Brzostowski, who reached base on an infield error. After a wild pitch, Simonich scored on junior designated hitter Drake Fellows’ sacrifice fly to center. Senior right fielder Connor Brandon finished off the scoring with an inside the park home run to center field, thanks to a little help from a setting sun directly behind home plate, which caused Dyke to momentarily lose sight of the baseball allowing it to roll to the center field wall.

Joliet Catholic tacked on four more runs on the Brother Rice bullpen in the bottom of the fourth, thanks to three consecutive walks, a hit-by-pitch that forced in a run, and a bases clearing line drive double to deep left field by senior catcher Nick Dalesandro, making it 9-3 Hilltoppers.

In the meantime, the Brother Rice bats had no answer for the relief pitching of Hilltopper ace Drake Fellows, who threw four scoreless innings, allowing only two base runners on two hits (the first a double by Brother Rice sophomore second baseman Ryan King). Fellows earned the win (1-0) striking out four, induced weak contact in the infield with seven ground ball outs, and pounded the zone with a 90-92 mph fastball, touching 93 mph. Joliet Catholic added an insurance run in the seventh to make the final score 10-3, as they cruised to victory behind the powerful right arm of the Vanderbilt-bound Fellows.

Joliet Catholic coach Jared Voss said, “Today was a good test for us against a quality young team, you can tell by today despite the score that they are going to be very good”.  The Hilltopper skipper went on to add “I’m really proud of our production 1- 9, up-and-down the lineup. It’s a team strength of ours that gets overshadowed at times due to our guys on the mound”. Eight different Hilltoppers recorded hits (10 total hits) and all nine hitters in the lineup reached base.

Click Here to read Insider Scouting Notes on the matchup in the Illinois Scout Blog.

Statistical Recap

Joliet Catholic - 10

KC Simonich, LF, 2017 – 2-for-4, double, RBI, run scored
Nick Dalesandro, C, 2015 – 1-for-3, double, three RBI, walk, run scored
Jack Howard, 1B, 2016 – 1-for-2, 2-run homer, walk, two runs scored
Connor Brandon, RF, 2015 – 2-for-3, inside-the-park HR, single, sac fly
Keegan Tyrell, CF, 2015 – 1-for-2, walk, run scored
Mitch Boe, SS, 2015 – 1-for-3, single, walk, run scored
Drake Fellows, RHP, 2016 –  Win (1-0) 4 IP, 1 Hit, 4 K, 0 BB

Brother Rice - 3

Mike Schalasky, C, 2015 – 2-for-3, HR, double, RBI
Mike Massey, SS, 2016 – 2-for-4, HR, single
Ryan Kutt, RHP, 2017 – 3 IP, 6 H, 4 K, 1 BB, 5 R, 2 ER

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