Prep Baseball Report

Extra-Inning Walk-Off, Walk, Gets Nazareth Past Brother Rice

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

In a 4A Sectional Semi-Final game at Ozinga Field, on Thursday evening, Nazareth Academy faced off against Brother Rice. The back-and-forth, extra-inning game, came down to a bases loaded, full-count, one-out situation in the bottom of the eighth. In the end it was Teddy Olander and Nazareth, who got the call on a borderline pitch at the bottom of the zone, resulting in a walk-off, walk and a 5-4 eight-inning win for Nazareth over Brother Rice.

Nazareth (29-8) loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning and had Olander, their two-hole hitter at the plate. After getting down in the count, Olander worked it back to full and took a fastball down in the zone for ball four. The walk gave Nazareth the 5-4 walk-off win and advanced them to the Sectional Championship on Saturday.

Nazareth took a 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to some savvy baserunning and aggressive coaching. With the bases loaded, one out and trailing 3-2, Eric Kramer pinch hit for Nazareth. Kramer grounded a ball to shortstop and beat out a potential 6-4-3 double play. In the meantime the tying run from third scored and Braden Schneider never hesitated rounding third and while everyone was looking at the safe call at first base, Schneider came around to score the go-ahead run.

The Roadrunners of Nazareth took the 4-3 lead into the top of the seventh, needing three outs to advance but Brother Rice battled and scratched across a run to stay alive. Brother Rice got runners at the corners with one out and sophomore Luke Lawrence grounded a ball into the six-hole. The shortstop went to get the force at second but the throw was wide, scoring Danny Doligale (Illinois commit) from third and everyone was safe. Brother Rice proceeded to load the bases with two outs but sophomore RHP Wylder Guido stepped up and struck out the next hitter, keeping the score tied going to the bottom of the seventh. Guido, was solid in his three innings of work out of the bullpen, giving up three hits, one run, fanning two and walking three. Guido ran his fastball up to 84 mph and mixed in a sharp-biting breaking ball.

Nazareth jumped out to the early 2-0 lead after one but Brother Rice turned to freshman RHP Jack Lausch and he turned out to be a huge key in the game for the Crusaders. Lausch, who sat anywhere from 80-84 mph throughout, pitched like someone well beyond his years. He attacked hitters, was calm and confident on the mound and allowed Brother Rice’s offense a chance to get back into the game. Lausch went 4.2 innings, scattering three hits, two runs, none earned, struck out three and walked one.

Brother Rice had prime opportunities to score in almost every inning of the game, as did Nazareth it seemed. Rice finally broke through with three runs in the top of the fourth inning. Kendall Pettis, who finished the day 3-for-4 with a walk, delivered the biggest blow of the inning, a scorched RBI double down the left-field line. Pettis (Oklahoma commit), the Chicago Catholic League - Blue Player of the Year, also tripled to center in his first at-bat of the game.

Andrew McKenna (Holy Cross commit) led the way for the Roadrunner offense going 2-for-4 with two hard hit doubles, two RBI and a run scored. LHP Michael Prosecky (Louisville commit) battled through four innings of work despite not being as crisp as he is used to. He allowed two earned runs, struck out five and walked five in his no decision.

With the win, Nazareth advances to the Sectional Championship game against St. Rita, on Saturday. The game which is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. at Ozinga Field.

For more in-depth notes from this game - and all other games that we cover - visit the Illinois Scout Blog.