Instant Classic: No. 1 Mount Carmel edges No. 2 Lockport, punches ticket to Joliet



By Drake Skleba
Senior Writer

CRESTWOOD- With No. 1 Mount Carmel clinging to a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh of the Class 4A Standard Bank Supersectional, Lockport senior Ron Sessler stepped up to the plate. With Porter mates on first and second, Sessler jumped on a changeup from Mount Carmel’s starting Jeremy Kravetz. Sessler hammered a shot down the right-field line, which hooked foul, missing the fair line by six inches.

With both runners moving with two outs, Sessler’s rocket would have been a walk-off game-winner. Unfazed, Kravetz then dispatched Sessler on a ground ball to senior shortstop

Jerry Houston, who retired Sessler for the final out of the game and the top-ranked Caravan were heading the to the Class 4A Final 4 on Friday in Joliet.

Before a sell-out crowd of 1,785, the two top-ranked teams in Illinois put on quite a show. In one of the best games in this reporter’s long career, the Caravan and Porters made every one of the overflow crowd happy to have spent six dollars to watch this instant classic. 

Mount Carmel (32-8) broke out on top with a run in the top of the first inning. Sophomore second baseman Ako Thomas, walked and went all the way to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a RBI groundout from Houston. The Porters quickly answered in the bottom of the second on a clutch two-out RBI single from Porter shortstop Thomas Smith. Porter right-fielder Jeff Pattison, who doubled, scored the first Porter run.

In the Caravan third, Beau Filkins singled to lead off the inning. Thomas sacrificed Filkins to second. Sophomore Josh Stowers hit a ground ball to Porter third baseman Doug Matthews, who attempted to tag the sliding Filkins at third base. The third base umpire claimed Matthews missed Filkins with the tag and Stowers reached on a fielder’s choice.

One of the Lockport assistant coaches had a discussion with the man in blue.

The Porter assistant coach insisted that the crafty Filkins went outside the baseline to avoid the tag. After a small discussion it appeared like the umpires were going to reverse the call and call Filkins out. Caravan head coach Brian Hurry exploded out of the third base coaches’ box to have a discussion with both the third base umpire and the Porter assistant coach.

After all the dust had settled, Filkins was ruled safe at third. The Caravan star of the night, Houston, followed with a clutch RBI single, plating the eventual game-winner scored by the crafty Filkins.

“This is truly unbelievable,” said Houston. “We still have two more games to win. It feels great to go downstate again but we want to win it this time. Lockport is a very good team and hats off to them. I’m just having fun with my brothers. I feel very happy to have driven home the two runs and this was a team win.”

After the controversial third inning, the pitchers, Kravetz (8-3) and Lockport’s SIU-Edwardsville right-hander Evan Martens (9-1), settled in to shut down the opposition the rest of the game.

The University of Kansas-bound lefty Kravetz went the distance for the Caravan, allowing one run and just four hits. Displaying an absolutely filthy changeup, the future Jayhawk struck out five and walked one.

“Again my defense was amazing behind me tonight,” said Kravetz. “Beau and Jerry continuously made great play-after-great play and some of Malik Carpenters’ scoops at first were outstanding. We are all out here just supporting each other.

“When I was a sophomore we made the Final Four but fell a little short. We want to get these next two games and keep the train going and do something no Mount Carmel team has ever done.”

“It was just an overall team win behind Storm (Kravetz),” said Filkins. “Storm threw a heck of a game for us tonight.”

Martens went the distance, allowing just two runs and five hits. Martens fanned 10 and walked one – Thomas, who led off the game with that lone walk and scored the first run of the game.

“What a great baseball game. Our hats are off to Lockport. They are a very good baseball team and a super program,” said Hurry. “Jeremy Kravetz and his teammates were outstanding. Two of the best pitchers in the state went head-to-head. Evan Martens was outstanding for Lockport as well. Jerry showed his senior leadership by having great at-bats to drive home the two runs.”

Lockport closes out a tremendous season under the leadership of head coach Andy Satunas at 32-8

“That’s baseball; it’s a game of inches,” said Satunas. “We had a game of inches go in our behalf against Providence and maybe our magic ran out today. I’m so proud of these seniors. They will be successful young men no matter what they do in life.”

Mount Carmel (32-8) will meet the University of Illinois Supersectional winner, between No. 4 Moline (26-9) and No. 8 Neuqua Valley (29-9). The game will be played at 4:30 on Tuesday in Champaign. The Caravan and the U of I winner will meet at Silver Cross Field in Joliet at around three on Friday.

IL Top Prospect Slide 6-13-13