No. 2 Mount Carmel rallies to upend No. 3 St. Rita for sectional championship



By Drake Skleba
Senior Writer

BURBANK – No. 2 Mount Carmel trailed No. 3 St. Rita 3-1 as the much-anticipated Class 4A Reavis Sectional final went to the bottom of the sixth. The Caravan erupted for four runs, highlighted by a clutch two-out, two-run double from Caravan senior DH Tommy Hayes, which gave the Caravan a 5-3 lead.

St. Rita would pick up a run in the top of the seventh, but Mount Carmel hung on to win 5-4 for an exciting 5-4 victory. With the win, the Caravan advance to a Monday date at 7 p.m. with No. 5 Lockport (32-7) for the 2013 Class 4A Crestwood Standard Bank Supersectional championship.

Mount Carmel junior lefty Marko Boricich (7-1) matched up with St. Rita senior right-hander Dominic Fosco (5-2). Both pitchers were dominant early, putting a pair of goose eggs on the board through two innings. Boricich added another zero in the top of the third. Mount Carmel’s sophomore right fielder Josh Stowers broke up the scoreless tie with a two-out, RBI double, plating fellow sophomore Ako Thomas.

“Today we came out against a tough pitcher in Dominic Fosco,” said Stowers.  “In the end we came out and got the big hits to win the game. “I did well at the plate and felt good about my double to get us the early lead.”

St. Rita tied the game in the fifth on a clutch two-out RBI single from junior Jake Shepski. The Mustangs tacked on a pair in the top of the sixth on an RBI from junior Nate Soria, having reached base a Caravan miscue. Senior Andy Massey ripped an RBI single to extend the Mustang lead to 3-1.

The Caravan sixth-inning rally was ignited by that man Beau. Senior third baseman Beau Filkins, who came into today’s game with a robust .440 batting average, singled to start the Caravan comeback. Thomas ripped a double and Filkins scored the first Caravan run of the inning on a RBI groundout from Stowers.

University of Oregon-bound shortstop Jerry Hairston tied the game on a fielder’s choice. Malik Carpenter was retired for the second out of the inning before Hayes provided the huge Mount Carmel contingent with a little two-out magic.

“I viewed the situation in the sixth as just-another at-bat,” said Hayes. “I’ve been in the big-game atmosphere many times in my career and I was confident I would come through. I showed some emotion after I hit the ball. I am a competitor and it was great to get the big hit.”

Thursday’s winning pitcher, University of Kansas-bound Jeremy Kravetz, replaced Boricich in the top of the seventh. Boricich allowed three runs, two earned, in his game-winning six innings of work on the mound. The talented junior lefty struck out seven and walked two.

“It was a team victory,” said Boricich. “Coach Hurry says that all the time. I am so fortunate to have the team I have. We have such great chemistry. I truly believe we can win the state championship. I was very intense in the early innings and was very happy with the way I threw the ball. Tommy has been a great teammate all season. He’s picked us up so often.”

St. Rita’s John A. Carter College-bound centerfielder Anthony Ray greeted Kravetz with a leadoff double, his third hit of the day, and would later score on a sac-fly from senior Connor McLain, to bring the Mustangs within one at 5-4. The future Jayhawk lefty Kravetz mowed down the last two Mustang hitters to nail down the save and the Sectional Championship.

“I went out there confident with the big two-run lead,” said Kravetz. “I went out and threw strikes and was confident my teammates would make the plays behind me. Tommy is the reason for our championship. It’ll be a huge crowd and a great atmosphere on Monday, but we have to just take it like any other game. If we play our game we will be successful.”

 With the win, the Caravan improve to 31-8 and will meet the 32-7 Porters of Lockport in Crestwood on Monday.

“The greatest joy of this win is that we beat St. Rita for this sectional championship,” said Mount Carmel head coach Brian Hurry. “I thought our team played with lot of grit and desire. That’s the second straight game we fell behind and battled back to win. I could not be more proud of the kids. Tommy has been with us since he was a sophomore and I was confident he would come through in that situation. Marko pitched his heart-out for us today.”

With the defeat, St. Rita closes out another sensational season under the tutelage of head coach Mike Zunica at 31-8.

“This was a very successful journey I had with these great Kids,” said Zunica. “This was one of the finest senior classes that we have ever had at St. Rita. The 2013 season was truly a successful journey.”

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