IHSBCA Summer State Final 4 Is Set

By Drake Skleba
Senior Writer

LISLE - Undefeated Joliet Catholic Academy and Nazareth Academy clinched No. 1 Seeds into Wednesday’s Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association/Phil Lawler Summer State Tournament Semifinals. Joliet Catholic Academy improved to 17-0 with a 9-0 thrashing of Crystal Lake South at North Central College in Naperville on Tuesday morning. It was the second consecutive shutout for the Hilltopper pitching staff. The Hilltoppers blanked Prairie Ridge 1-0 in  nine thrilling innings on Monday. Nazareth Academy (23-11), playing without five position starters, stopped St. Laurence 4-2 behind 6-foot-5; 235-pound Mike Kogut’s four-hitter.

No. 2 seeds were clinched by Prospect (26-6-1) and Prairie Ridge (20-4). Prospect avenged a 12-4 loss to St. Laurence on Monday with a 4-2 thumping of the Vikings, knocking the Catholic Blue champs from the tournament. Prairie Ridge crushed Fox Valley Conference Valley Division and city rival Crystal Lake South 8-2 at North Central College.

On Wednesday  at 5 at Benedictine, Nazareth will take on Prairie Ridge in Semifinal 1. In Semifinal 2 at 7:30, Joliet Catholic Academy will face Prospect. The winners of Wednesday’s semifinal contests will battle for the 2014 Phil Lawler Summer State Tournament Championship Trophy on Thursday night at Benedictine at 7.

Nazareth Academy 4, St.Laurence 2
With five starters off playing football with Nazareth head football coach Tim Raki, the Roadrunners continued their amazing tournament run, knocking off St. Laurence at Benedictine University on Tuesday morning. 6-foot-5, 235 pound right-hander Mike Kogut fired a four-hitter at the Vikings with nine strikeouts.

The Roadrunners picked up their first run on a bases-loaded walk to Richie Kiernicki in the first inning. In a three-run third, the Vikings were charitable, giving the Roadrunners a pair of unearned runs in the inning. Monday’s Roadrunner hero junior third baseman Chris Campagna ripped a clutch two-out RBI single plating the fourth and final Nazareth run.

Meanwhile Kogut pitched out of jams in the second, third and fifth innings, stranding seven Viking base runners.  

Junior catcher Shane Gipson had two hits, scored a pair of runs and an exceptional day behind the plate. Junior shortstop Brandon Bossard and junior DH Kyle Kane each had a pair of hits for the Roadrunners. One of Bossard’s hits was a double.

Prospect 4, St. Laurence 2
Twenty-four hours earlier at North Central College, St. Laurence had just finished routing the Knights 12-4. Dinah Washington's 1959 classic “What a Difference a Day Makes” was never more prevalent than on Tuesday, when Prospect turned the tables on St. Laurence, 4-2, clinching the No.2 seed in the Benedictine Pool. 6-foot-3, 175 pound junior lefty Pasquelli Atteo, went the distance for the Knights, firing a five-hitter at the Vikings with four  strikeouts.

The Knights plated a pair in the first inning scoring on an RBI single from the tournament’s top hitter, senior first baseman Lucas Karz and a sac-fly from senior catcher Grant Miller. Junior third baseman Ryan Molini drove home the third Knight run on a clutch two-out RBI single in the third.

After St. Laurence (15-4) picked up an unearned run in the fifth to close to 3-1, Molini’s sac-fly in the bottom of the fifth concluded the Knight scoring.

St. Laurence picked up an RBI single from sophomore first baseman Tom Farrell in the top of the sixth to conclude the scoring in the game.

Joliet Catholic Academy 9, Crystal Lake South 0
17 consecutive wins without a defeat in the summer.16 scoreless innings in two IHSBCA/Phil Lawler Summer Classic games. Five stolen bases by Hilltopper and  future Iowa Hawkeye, Mitch  Boe. The big numbers were aplenty in Joliet Catholic Academy’s 9-0 rout of Crystal  Lake South in an IHSBCA/Phil Lawler Summer Classic quarterfinal at North Central College in Naperville.

After throwing a one-hitter in the regionals against Plainfield North in a Lockport Regional quarterfinal last Tuesday, senior Danny Ersham was at again on Tuesday at North Central. Ersham fired a three-hit shutout at the Gators.

Boe ran wild on the Gators, going 2-for-2 at the plate with three runs scored, an RBI and the five counts of larceny on the base paths.

JCA super-soph KC Simonich continued his torrid hitting in the tournament with  a pair of singles and two RBI. Vanderbilt-recruit Drake Fellows chipped in with an RBI single and a sac-fly.

Prairie Ridge 8, Crystal Lake South 2
In the Battle of Crystal Lake and a trip to the IHSBCA/Phil Lawler Summer Classic semifinals on Wednesday, Prairie Ridge (20-4) routed city-rival South 8-2 at North Central College in Naperville.

Senior Ben Cilano’s clutch two-run double gave the Wolves a lead they would not relinquish in the second inning. Senior Connor Schneider, junior Hunter Martin and Nick Schmidt all contributed RBI singles for the Wolves. 

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