Prep Baseball Report

No. 20 St. Laurence Knocks out No. 19 Nazareth, Advances to Super Sectionals

By Peter Hamot
Area Scout

Two 3A stalwarts, No. 19 Nazareth and No. 20 St. Laurence squared off in what was destined to be an exciting matchup. Strong pitching and situational hitting proved to be the difference as St. Laurence went on to win 4-1.

St. Laurence (25-8) was led on the mound by uncommitted, junior right-hander, Osvaldo Ballesteros. Ballesteros went 5.2 strong innings while only allowing three hits, three walks and punching out nine. The Vikings hurler set the tone early, gathering the first 6 outs of the game via the strikeout. He featured a fastball that sat 85-88 mph early on, touching 89 mph once. In the later innings, his fastball sat 83-86 mph with arm-side run, touching 87 mph multiple times. Ballesteros featured a 10/4 breaking ball, which he developed more feel for later in the game, in the 71-74 mph range. Changeup showed arm-side run in at 76-80 mph and was kept down in the zone. Ballesteros remained confident with runners in scoring position and continued to challenge hitters the entire game, collecting swing and misses on fastballs in the zone. Ballesteros showed a bulldog mentality on the mound with a lot of intensity and quality pitches in big spots. 

The Vikings took control of the game in the bottom of the third inning and never looked back. Senior Kevin McCormick, an Evansville commit, barreled a ball to center field to score junior Max Montgomery, who walked earlier in the inning, extending their lead to 2-0 at the time. A few batters later, junior Angelo Luna reached base via an error by the shortstop which also allowed senior and Lewis University commit Jason Krol to score. Krol had reached base via a fielder’s choice and his score pushed the Viking lead to 3-0 at the time. 

The Vikings added on runs in the second and fourth inning. Junior Jimmy Gurgone, an Illinois Wesleyan commit, singled to bring home Luna in the second inning and make the score 1-0 at the time. In the fourth, McCormick singled to center to bring home Montgomery and give them their biggest lead of the day at the time, which was 4-0.  

Trailing 4-0, Nazareth (27-11) wouldn’t go down easy in the top of the seventh, their final chance at the plate. Freshman Cooper Malamazian doubled down the right-field line to put a man in scoring position with one out. Sophomore Lucas Smith stepped up a few batters later and singled on a hard ground ball to left-field, scoring Malamazian and cutting the lead to 4-1. That would be it for Nazareth however as Freshman Kannen Mosher (St. Laurence) squashed the rally, retiring the next batter to record a four-out save and preserving the 4-1 win. 

The Roadrunners were led on the mound by freshman John Hughes. The 6-foot, 180-pound, left-hander spun six strong innings and impressed with a mature presence on the mound and true three-pitch mix as a freshman. Hughes’ fastball sat 80-82 mph early on with arm-side life and touched 84 mph once. He settled in comfortably at 79-82 mph later in the game and mixed in a plus changeup that worked off his fastball plane at 72-73 mph with fade and feel for the bottom of the zone. Curveball worked in the 66-68 mph range with gradual 1/7 shape and feel for the zone. Despite receiving the loss, his repertoire is hard to ignore, especially for his age. Hughes should garner plenty of attention over the coming years.

St. Laurence Advances to Super Sectionals at Ozinga Field. First pitch is slated for 5pm on Monday, June 14th.


+ Osvaldo Ballesteros (St. Laurence): 5.2 innings, 3 hits, 3 BB, 9Ks
+ Lucas Smith (Nazareth): 2-for-3, double
+ Mike Laudondo (St. Laurence): 1-for-3, double
+ Angelo Luna (St. Laurence): 2-for-3
+ Kevin McCormick (St. Laurence): 1-for-3, RBI
+ Justin Gutierrez (Nazareth): 1-for-2, double
+ Jimmy Gurgone (St. Laurence): 1-for-3, RBI