Prep Baseball Report

No. 21 Brother Rice Tops No. 16 Marist 4-3 On Ryan Kutt Homer

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

CHICAGO, IL – No. 16 Marist and No. 21 Brother Rice: two schools separated by two miles on Pulaski Road, a rivalry steeped in tradition throughout the years in all sports. Tuesday’s non-conference matchup at George Sedlacek Field on the campus of Brother Rice did not fail to disappoint, as the Crusaders won a back-and-forth battle 4-3 thanks to a solo homer to center field off the bat of sophomore first baseman Ryan Kutt that gave them the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth.

The game had extra intrigue, as new Marist coach Kevin Sefcik (who has the Redhawks off to a fast 12-3 start) had been an assistant the past several years on John McCarthy’s staff at Brother Rice. Add in the fact that several players on both teams play together in summer travel baseball, the winner of this rivalry game has bragging rights for the next year on several levels.

The matchup was a scouts dream: a seven inning game played in one hour and twenty minutes, thanks to the efficient pitching of Marist senior lefthander Ryan Kairis and Brother Rice sophomore righthander Jack Guzek, who were deadlocked going into the fourth inning, each having thrown three shutout innings to start off the game.

Marist got on the board first in the top of the fourth, thanks to a Brother Rice miscue. Junior first baseman John Carmody doubled off the wall in center with two outs. Guzek buckled down and induced a swinging strikeout on a curveball in the dirt, but the ensuing dropped-third strike throw from the catcher sailed high over Kutt at first base, allowing Carmody to score the games’ first run.

The Crusaders wasted no time answering in the bottom half of the inning. Senior catcher Mike Schalasky, making up for his previous throwing error, doubled off the wall to right, aided in part by a stiff wind blowing out to left field that pushed the ball back into fair territory. Junior centerfielder Andrew Dyke subsequently lined a shot back up the middle for a single scoring Schalasky and tying the game at one. Sophomore second baseman Ryan King added a single to left field, putting runners on first and second with no outs, but Kairis buckled down recording two fly outs and a ground out to escape further damage.

Rice added two more runs in the fifth on a line shot double to right off the bat of Illinois-commit, junior shortstop Mike Massey, scoring senior outfielder Danny Paluch. Marist’s relay throw to home plate nearly nabbed Paluch, but the ball bounced away from the catcher into the Rice dugout during the home plate slide, allowing Massey to score and giving the Crusaders a 3-1 lead.

Kairis helped his own effort with a lead-off double in the top of the sixth. Marist senior shortstop Pat Meehan drilled a two-run shot to left field on a curveball from Guzek to tie the game at three.

With the game tied entering the bottom of the sixth, it set the stage for Kutt’s heroics. Kutt said, “I was looking to go up the middle, because Kairis had me out front in my first at bats. I tried to keep my shoulder in and not pull off, and I got a fastball up on a windy day.”

Kutt drilled a 2-2 pitch to centerfield to give the Crusaders a 4-3 lead, and Guzek a huge victory on the mound for a sophomore. Senior righthander Pat Smith shut down the Redhawks in order in the seventh to earn the save. Smith said, “There’s nothing better than playing Marist, and this is a huge win. Max Hughes made a great fielding play to help me out (a great backhand play at third base for the second out of the seventh).”

Schalasky and Massey led the Crusaders offensively, both finishing with two hits and a run scored. Guzek fired six innings of five-hit baseball, allowing two earned runs with five strikeouts and one walk.

Kairis was the tough luck loser in his complete game performance allowing three earned runs, with three strikeouts and one walk.

Brother Rice coach John McCarthy said, “Guzek changed speeds and competed, he made pitches. A big credit to them bouncing back after a close loss to Mount Carmel, they are a really good ballclub and it was a well-played game. I’m proud of our guys all-around and Kutt’s homer is a career defining hit.”

Brother Rice improves to 16-4 on the season, while Marist drops to 12-3. Marist’s three losses are 1-0 to No. 5 Providence, 1-0 to No. 3 Mt. Carmel, and 4-3 to No. 21 Rice. Brother Rice goes to St. Ignatius today at 4:30, while Marist plays at Richards on Thursday at 4:30.

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