No. 1 Mount Carmel handles No. 8 Neuqua Valley, advances to 4A title game



By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

JOLIET, IL – After escaping the toughest sectional and supersectional in the state, No. 1 Mount Carmel showed no signs of slowing down Friday, as the Caravan cruised past No. 8 Neuqua Valley, 8-0, in the Class 4A state semifinals at Silver Cross Field.

The Caravan (32-8) now advance to Saturday’s championship thanks to junior left-hander Marko Boricich’s five-hit shutout and a balanced offense that produced up and down the lineup. Mount Carmel will seek its first state championship when it faces the winner of St. Charles East and Libertyville game.

It took the Caravan three innings to figure out Neuqua Valley starter Cody Coll (7-4), but once they did, the hits came in bunches. Mount Carmel pounded out four hits in each the fourth and fifth innings, effectively turning a scoreless tie into a 5-0 advantage.

Sophomore right fielder Josh Stowers started it with an infield leadoff single in the fourth, and soon scored on the first of two RBI singles by unsigned senior centerfielder Jason Gasser. Senior DH Tom Hayes and sophomore 1B Malik Carpenter both added run-scoring singles in the fourth to give the Caravan a 3-0 advantage.

It was more of the same in the fifth – with several of the same players. Sophomore second baseman Ako Thomas led off with a single, and then after two outs, Gasser ripped another run-scoring single, followed by an RBI single by third baseman Beau Filkins. Hayes also had a double in the inning.

When it was all said and done, Mount Carmel led 5-0. The cushion was more than enough for Boricich, who got in one minor jam in the third – first and third with one out – but got a strikeout and a groundout to escape. 

The 6-foot, 190-pound Boricich struck out three, walked two and needed only 85 pitches in the shutout.

Offensively, the Caravan tallied 12 hits. Stowers, Hayes, Gasser and senior shortstop Jerry Houston all had two hits in the game.

For Neuqua Valley (30-10), Eastern Illinois-bound 3B Drew Sterioti had two of the team’s five hits, while junior second baseman Mike Riesner had a hit and a walk.

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