No. 2 Mount Carmel Rallies To Upend No. 3 St. Laurence

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

BURBANK, IL – Two of the top three teams in the state. Highly ranked players all over the field, including Illinois’ No. 1-ranked sophomore (OF Alek Thomas) and freshman (C/3B Matt McCormick).  A charged crowd on hand.

Yep, must be Chicago Catholic Blue Conference time.

The hype lived up to the billing, too, as No. 2 Mount Carmel rallied late to upend host No. 3 St. Laurence, 4-2, in a Chicago Catholic Blue opener Saturday afternoon.

AJ LewisTrailing 2-0 since the first inning, Mount Carmel (15-2, 8-0) tied the game in the fifth on Missouri-bound C AJ Lewis’ two-run homer to left field. Then, in the top of the seventh and game still deadlocked at 2-2, Lewis got the Caravan in motion again when he fought off a one-out, two-strike curveball up in the zone for a double down the right field line. After Thomas grounded out to first base, which advanced Lewis to third, St. Laurence (14-3, 7-1) opted to intentionally walk senior SS Jeremy Houston (Indiana).

With two premium athletes on base, Mount Carmel coach Brian Hurry called for a double steal, and it worked to perfection. The speedy Houston broke early for second base, and when senior lefty reliever Anthony Robles turned to second, it was too late. Lewis had anticipated the spin, giving him just enough time to beat the throw at the plate.

Right fielder Neil Novosel then followed with a RBI single up the middle to give the Caravan a 4-2 cushion heading into bottom of the seventh.

Junior RHP Cameron Hupe (5-1) took care of the rest, as he concluded his six-hit complete game with a strikeout. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Hupe had a rocky start, surrendering a pair of hits to open the game, both of which scored to give the Vikings a 2-0 advantage.  The uncommitted Hupe, who’s ranked No. 53 in Illinois’ 2017 class, pitched out of a few jams, including getting out of a bases-loaded situation in the fifth with an elevated fastball. Hupe finished with seven strikeouts, two walks, two hit batsmen and two earned runs. His fastball sat 84-86 early on, touching 88, and settled in the 82-85 range for the majority of the game.

Mount Carmel’s late rally negated a solid performance by St. Laurence junior LHP Jimmy Burnette. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Austin Peay recruit was working a shutout against the Caravan’s dangerous lineup before Lewis took him deep in the fifth. In five innings, Burnette yielded three hits, two runs, struck out six, walked five and hit two batters. Burnette came out the gates hot with a pair of strikeouts, sitting 87-88 with his fastball and even rang the 90 bell once on an 0-2 fastball to Thomas that missed up and away.

Junior 1B Thomas Farrell, a UIC recruit, led off the first inning with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then proceeded to steal third. Junior 2B John Peterson followed with a bloop double to right field, and eventually came around to score on senior C Anthony Rios’ (Lewis) sac-fly to right field, giving the Vikings a 2-0 lead. Farrell finished 2-for-4 with a double and a run.

More detailed notes on prospects will be added to the Illinois Scout Blog later.

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