Prep Baseball Report

No. 1 St. Laurence Hammers No. 4 Mount Carmel In Five

By Sean Duncan

Executive Director

CHICAGO - St. Laurence coach Pete Lotus said before Saturday’s showdown with No. 4 Mount Carmel that his top-ranked Vikings weren’t hitting as of late, which contributed to a surprising mid-week loss, the team’s first of the season.

The packed crowd at Mount Carmel’s Haggerty Field would find that bit of analysis surprising, to say the least.

Despite chilly game-time temperature, St. Laurence came out the gates smoking, piling on nine runs in the first inning and cruised to an 11-1 five-inning mercy-rule victory in an anti-climactic Chicago Catholic Blue opener.

Senior left-handed hitting 1B Thomas Farrell set the tone the first batter of the game, ripping a double to left-center. Senior 2B John Peterson dropped down a bunt hit, followed by a run-scoring single by sophomore C Matt McCormick. An error on another bunt loaded the bases before junior LF Zach Verta crushed a grand slam to right-center field.

The offensive onslaught continued. The Vikings (16-1, 7-1) pounded out nine hits in the inning, sent 14 batters to the plate with the first eight coming around to score. The first out recorded was a sacrifice bunt by No. 9 hitter Brian Lyle. McCormick, who’s the No. 2-ranked 2019 prospect in the state, had a pair of run-scoring singles in the inning, and Peterson scored twice and drove in a run.

St. Laurence added two more runs in the third inning, making it 11-0. Farrell again started it off, this time with a single, and Peterson followed with another hit. Senior Jimmy Burnette then delivered an RBI single, and Verta added a sacrifice fly to give him five RBI in three innings.

Meanwhile, senior RHP Marius Balandis handled the rest. The 6-foot-2, 191-pound Iowa Western CC recruit limited the Caravan’s high-octane offense to three hits while striking out seven and walking four in five innings. Mount Carmel’s only run came in the fifth when he walked Wake Forest-bound 1B Bobby Seymour (1-for-2) with the bases loaded. Balandis’ fastball lived in the 88-90 range in the early innings.

For St. Laurence, eight of the nine starters collected at least one hit. Peterson finished the game 3-for-4 with three runs and a RBI, Farrell went 2-for-3 with two runs and a RBI, junior RF Justin Rios had a pair of doubles and Verta finished with five RBI.

Mount Carmel dropped to 16-2 and 7-1 in the Chicago Catholic League.

The two teams will square off again on Tuesday at St. Laurence.

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