Prep Baseball Report

No. 10 JCA, Fellows shut down No. 1 St. Rita to advance to Bajenski finals

By Drake Skleba
Senior Writer

CRESTWOOD - The defending Steven M Bajenski Memorial Tournament champs from Joliet Catholic Academy moved one step closer to a repeat performance in 2014. Behind the Hilltoppers super-sophomore right-hander Drake Fellows, No. 10 Joliet Catholic Academy blanked top-ranked St. Rita 2-0 in a Bajenski semifinal at Standard Bank Stadium. Fellows was magnificent, firing a two hit shutout at the Mustangs with 10 strikeouts. St. Rita’s University of Notre-Dame-bound Jake Shepski was the only Mustang batter to solve Fellows, getting both hits that the Vanderbilt University recruit would give up.

With the win the Hilltoppers will take the Fighting 59er’s of Merrillville (IN) Andrean. Andrean (24-4), behind senior lefty Danny Gomez’s perfect-game, crushed Providence 10-0 in five innings.  

Opposing Fellows was St. Rita ace lefty Mike Costanzo. Joliet Catholic Academy (28-6) picked up a run in top of the first against the Austin Peay-bound lefty. With one out, junior Nick Dalesandro walked. Junior Mitch Boe singled and senior Aaron Markley walked to load the bases.One of Thursday’s Hilltopper heroes, junior Keegan Tyrell, took one for the team, getting plunked by Costanzo and forcing home Dalesandro with the first run of the game.

Junior Mike Quiram led off the Hilltopper second with a double and would score the second Hilltopper run on a sac-fly from Markley in the top of the second.

Shepski singled in the first off of Fellows and then with one out in the fourth, Shepski ripped a double to right. Shepski rounded second and was gunned down at third on a perfect relay throw from rightfielder Tyrell to second baseman Rylan Bannon, who threw a strike to third baseman Quiram to put the tag on the distraught Shepski.

Fellows (6-1) retired the last 10 Mustang batters,striking out five of them, including three in the sixth inning.

“Off-speed pitches were working very well for me tonight,” said Fellows “I had movement and location on my fastball. ...This was a great win for us because it will quiet the doubters who did not think we can win this tournament again. The team had my back and got me a couple of runs.”

Costanzo (8-2) went the distance for St.Rita (30-4), allowing the two runs and six hits while striking out two and walking four.

“Monster performance from Drake tonight; Nick gave us one last night,” said Joliet Catholic Academy coach Jared Voss.. “For a sophomore to go out and shut out the top-ranked team in the state is very impressive. We got a couple runs and Drake was the whole story today.”

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