Prep Baseball Report

IHSBCA Summer State Elite 8 Roundup

By Drake Skleba
Senior Writer

LISLE - In a classic Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association/Phil Lawler Summer Classic first-round game, Joliet Catholic improved to 16-0 with a thrilling 1-0, nine-inning victory over Prairie Ridge. Senior Connor Brandon’s two-out walk-off single plated sophomore K.C Simonich, who had walked and stole second, with the Hilltopper game-winner.

“I tried to do whatever I could to get the run home,” said Brandon. “I got my pitch and hit the ball well for the game-winner.”

The ninth inning proved to be decisive for JCA, in more ways than one. In the top of the ninth, Prairie Ridge (18-4) senior Carson Getzelman was drilled by Purdue-bound reliever Nick Dalesandro (2-0). Senior Connor Schneider reached on an errant throw from the Hilltopper third baseman and Getzelman raced all the way to third. With senior catcher Robert Palmquist at the plate, Schneider stole second base. Palmquist, attempting a suicide squeeze, bunted the ball back to Dalesandro, who flipped to Hilltopper catcher Dan Devine, who put the tag on Getzelman. Junior Hunter Martin was next and with two strikes attempting another suicide, struck out and Devine, an imposing force, put the tag on Schneider for the third out of the inning.

“I expected the suicide squeeze with their 8 & 9 batters coming up,” said Dalesandro. “I tried to make pitches that would be hard to bunt. I have tremendous confidence in Dan Devine behind the plate, to throw any pitch I need to.”

The game started out as a classic pitchers’ duel between Joliet Catholic’s junior right-hander Drake Fellows and Prairie Ridge ace right-hander Ben Cilano. Fellows, a Vanderbilt recruit, allowed five hits with nine strikeouts in his seven stellar innings on the mound for the Hilltoppers. Cilano was equally impressive, allowing four hits with three strikeouts in his seven scoreless innings on the mound.

“I was happy to see Connor get the big hit for us today,” said JCA head coach Jared Voss. “Drake and Nick pitched outstanding for us to give us a chance to win. Drake has thrown two games for me this summer that have worked out very well for us.”

Fellows threw a four-hit shutout at Lincoln-Way North in the Lockport Regional opener last Monday for JCA.

JCA will meet Crystal Lake South at 10 a.m. at North Central College in Naperville, in a championship quarterfinal. You can watch all of the action LIVE at

Crystal Lake South 10, Downers Grove South 3
Crystal Lake South (19-5-3) trailed Downers Grove South 3-0 as the Gators IHSBCA/Lawler  first-round game went to the top of the seventh. Another example of “Christmas in July” ensued, as the Gators received three gift-wrapped runs via two hit batters and a walk, with the bases loaded to tie the game at 3-3 and send it to extra-innings.

In the top of the eighth, the Gators exploded for seven runs and seven hits to put the game away and advance to Tuesday’s championship quarterfinal game with Joliet Catholic Academy.

St. Laurence 12, Prospect 4
NAPERVILLE - Another bad first-inning put St. Laurence (15-2) in a 4-0 hole to Prospect in the IHSBCA/Phil Lawler Classic first-round opener at North Central College. Three of the four runs were unearned against Viking starting and winning pitcher junior lefty Anthony Robles. Viking senior second baseman Frank Greco cut the Knight lead in half with a clutch two-out two run single in the Viking first and the Vikings went on to score the last dozen runs of the contest, in their 12-4 win. Robles (3-0) settled down to fire four no-hit innings to pick up the win.

“I really struggled in the first inning,” said Robles. “I finally settled in and threw strikes and getting a lot of ground ball outs and pitched well. My fastball on the outside corner was by far my best pitch today.”

The Vikings were led by Greco and senior left fielder Mike Finger. Finger was on base all four times at the plate with a single, double, hit by pitch and a walk. He also drove home three Viking runs.

“We started slow but we chipped away and went on to the victory,” said Finger. “We were very confident we could come back. Anthony was a little shaky in the first inning but then settled down and pitched well for us. I took the pitcher deep in the count and had a good day at the plate.”

Greco added a double and scored a run for the Vikings in the third. Greco played a stellar second base, turning a double play in the fourth and making a  sensational play in the sixth.

“It was an amazing day for me today,” said Greco. “I just go out and do whatever I can do to help us win. It was a great feeling.”

St. Laurence will face Nazareth Academy (22-11) at 10 at Benedictine University in Lisle in a championship quarterfinal on Tuesday. You can watch all of the action LIVE at Drake Skleba will have all of the Viking-Roadrunner action on Tuesday.

Nazareth 4, Glenbrook North 3
NAPERVILLE - In a game where both teams were depleted by their respective football programs, Nazareth Academy slipped past Glenbrook North 4-3 in eight thrilling innings at  North  Central College on Monday. Coach Lee Milano’s Roadrunners were able to advance without five starting position players who were at a football camp. Glenbrook North associate head coach Ryan Graham, wasn’t so lucky. Missing from the Spartans were six Spartan starting players attending the same football camp.

Nazareth’s (22-11) junior Chris Campagna’s one-out RBI single to left plated junior Kyle Kane, who had led off the top of the eighth with a single, with the eventual game-winner.

“It felt great to get the victory,” said Campagna. “I just go to the plate looking to make contact and I was able to come through for us.”

Senior right-hander Matt Wilson slammed the door on the Spartans in the bottom of the eighth to pick up the win.

“I was a little nervous going in but we battled and picked up the big victory for us,” said Wilson. “We were able to overcome adversity today and get a big win. It really shows the character of our team.”

Glenbrook North (18-9) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in bottom of the third. Spartan senior Sage Bruhl doubled home the first run of the game and then scored on senior Robert Stocking’s RBI single.

Wilson singled home the first Roadrunner run in the top of the fourth. Junior Shane Gipson's’ sac-fly tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth.

Both teams scored runs in the top of the seventh. Nazareth’s senior Mike Kogut, in just his second plate appearance in his Roadrunner career, hit the first pitch he saw for an RBI pinch-hit single to put Nazareth up 3-2. In the bottom of the seventh, Glenbrook North’s Bruhl struck again with a clutch two-out RBI single, to tie the game at 3-3.

“Great character today from our kids,” said Milano. “A lot of kids out there with zero game experience. Chris Campagna has had big hits for us all through the tournament. Matt Wilson struggled a little in the beginning throwing strikes but battled back to finish up the game.”

Prairie Ridge 6, Downers Grove South 4
LISLE - After their heart-wrenching 1-0 in nine inning defeat to unbeaten Joliet Catholic Academy 45-minutes before, we all wondered what the kids from Prairie Ridge had left to give. Don’t worry about head coach Glen Pecoraro's Wolves. The Wolves spotted Downers Grove South (14-8) a 3-0 lead and roared past the Mustangs for a 6-4 elimination game win in Lisle.  

“It was insane after the way we lost that first game” said Pecoraro.”I am so proud of the kids for the way they bounced back from such a heart-breaking loss just 45-minutes before.”
Wolves ace right-hander Ben Cilano plated the eventual Wolves game-winner in the top of the sixth breaking up a 4-4 tie with a booming RBI double.

“I ripped the ball the other way for the game-winner,” said Cilano. “It felt really good. I was really angry about losing that game to JCA and that helped me have the big day at the plate.”

Prairie Ridge junior Jacob Carpenter pilfered the final run in the top of the seventh when he stole home.

Wolves senior closer Alec Thune slammed the door on DGS, firing two hitless innings in relief of PR starting and winning pitcher junior right-hander Jon Tieman. Thune ended the game in style with his second punch-out.  

“I just came into the game with the idea to throw strikes,” said Thune.” I was able to do that and my defense made the plays behind me.”

Prairie Ridge (19-4) will meet the loser of Tuesday’s JCA-Crystal Lake South game at 12:30 at North Central College. You can watch all of the action LIVE at

Prospect 5, Glenbrook North 0
Prospect (25-6-1) bounced back from their 12-4 defeat to St. Laurence, to blank Glenbrook North in an elimination game at North Central College. Knight senior RHP Justin Plako fired a two-hit shutout at the Spartans. Knight cleanup hitter Lucas Karz led the Knight attack with two doubles and two RBI. Senior Tyler Damasky chipped in with a single and an RBI for Prospect. The Knights will meet the loser of Tuesday’s St. Laurence Nazareth Academy game at 12:30 at Benedictine University in Lisle. You can watch all of the action LIVE at Yours Truly will have all of the action from Lisle.

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