Prep Baseball Report

Mount Carmel Rolls Past St. Laurence 8-3 to Bring Home Stevie's Cup

By Drake Skleba
Senior Writer

CRESTWOOD - The third time was the charm for No. 2 Mount Carmel in the championship game of the Fourth Annual Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Tournament held at Standard Bank Stadium. After falling to St. Rita 10-4 in the 2012 final and then being shutout by Joliet Catholic Academy 3-0 in 2013 final, the 2015 Caravan finally brought Stevie’s Cup back home to Mount Carmel. Stevie’s Cup is the impressive team championship trophy presented to the winner of the Bajenski tournament.

Steve Bajenski was an outstanding student at Mount Carmel and a hard-nose second baseman for the Caravan varsity baseball team. Suffering from heart-problems during his too-short 17-year life, Stevie passed away on August 28, 2009. The tournament is the brainchild of Stevie’s dad, president of the “Do it Stevie’s Way” Foundation and the outstanding tournament director, Mark Bajenski. This year’s field as in year’s past, featured six of the Top 25 teams in the state, led by the second-ranked Caravan.

Mount Carmel (30-5) ace Nelson Munoz, went the distance allowing just four hits and one earned run, to lead the Caravan to the championship. It was Munoz’s 11th victory of the season without a defeat.

“It was really great for us to finally win Stevie’s Tournament,” Munoz said. “I pitched pretty well and just threw and let my outstanding defense do the rest. We have just won Stevie’s Tournament, won our 30th game of the season and are Catholic League champs but we are far from done.”

Louisville-bound Josh Stowers came up with the key hit of the game in the top of the third. With the bases full and two out he took an outside 1-2 pitch from St. Laurence starting pitcher Angel Sandoval to right field driving home Bobby Seymour and Nick Wheeler. When the throw from right field was mishandled by the Vikings, the speedy AJ Lewis scored the third run on the play.

“I had been a slump lately at the plate but really hit the ball well tonight,” Stowers said. “I just took the outside pitch to right and ended up getting three runs home on the play. It was great to finally win Stevie’s tournament in our third try.”

Mount Carmel added three more runs in the fourth. Jeremy Houston and Wheeler had RBI singles to highlight the three-run Caravan fourth.

St. Laurence (21-11) picked a pair of unearned runs against Munoz, in the bottom of the fourth to close to within 6-2 after four innings.

The Caravan tacked single runs on in the sixth on Lewis’ RBI single and in the seventh on Valparaiso-bound catcher Scott Kapers RBI single.

“Nelson was magnificent on the mound for us and it is truly special to finally win Stevie’s Tournament,” Kapers said. “I had a good night at the plate and behind it. When I’m behind the plate I really enjoy trying to pick off opposing runners.  Almost nailed a couple tonight.”

St. Laurence was led by Viking third baseman John Riordan, who had two of the four hits allowed by Munoz.

“It was a great win for us tonight,” Mount Carmel head coach Brian Hurry said. “Nelson Munoz pitched a fine game. Josh Stowers hit was the key hit for us. We are very grateful to know Stevie’s Cup for the year, will reside at home at Mount Carmel.”


No. 19 Providence 10, No. 3 St. Rita 2

Providence (24-11) routed St. Rita 10-2 in the Third Place game of the 4th Annual Steven.M. Bajenski Memorial Tournament. Providence junior Matt Waznis singled, tripled and drove home three runs to lead the Celtic attack.

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