No. 5 St. Rita rallies past De La Salle

By Drake Skleba
Senior Writer

CHICAGO - No. 5 St. Rita rallied past De La Salle 4-3 in a Chicago Catholic League crossover game at St. Rita on Monday. The Mustangs were led to victory by a pair of juniors, shortstop Jake Shepski and left-handed pitcher Mike Costanzo. Costanzo (5-0) struck out 15 in his six quality innings on the mound to pick up the win.

The Mustangs spotted De La Salle an early 3-0 lead and with Meteor ace right-hander Ricardo Ramirez (UIC) dealing on the hill, things were a little anxious at 7740 South Western Avenue.

De La Salle (6-5; 2-1 White) struck for two runs in the top of the second on a clutch two-out, two-run single by Meteor freshman second baseman Tom Duddleston. The Meteors tacked on another run in the top of the third on a one-out RBI single from junior catcher Glen Kubek (2-for-2, RBI, HBP).

St. Rita (13-2; 1-0 Blue) began its comeback in the bottom of the third, picking up its first run of the game on a two-out, RBI double from junior catcher Nate Soria.

In the bottom of the fourth, Shepski came through with two-out, two-run single, tying the game at 3-3. On the play, junior first baseman Nick Goldsmith (2-for-3, R) and senior centerfielder Anthony Ray (John A. Logan C.C.) scored the tying runs.

In the bottom of the sixth, Shepski struck again. After two out, Ray and then promptly stole second base. Senior DH Connor McClain (1-for-1, BB) walked. Shepski, a Notre Dame recruit, ripped a shot to right and the fleet-footed Ray raced around from second to score the eventual game-winner.

“I have really been struggling at the plated lately,” said Shepski. “I was not going to let my teammates down again. I went up there in the sixth with the thought I must come through for us.”

St. Rita closer, senior right-hander Dominic Fosco, took over for Costanzo in the top of the seventh. Costanzo, an Austin Peay recruit, allowed three runs, two of which were earned. He allowed four hits with 15 strikeouts and four walks to remain perfect.

“The first three innings I overthrew a little bit,” said Costanzo. “I really settled in and began to do what I do. Jake came through with the big hits and Dom nailed down the save. It was a big win over a very good team.”

Ramirez (0-3) suffered another tough loss to a state-ranked opponent, having lost his two previous starts to Marian Catholic and Joliet Catholic Academy. Ramirez went the distance, allowing four runs, of which three were earned. He gave up six hits and struck out four.

“That’s what Catholic League baseball is all about,” said St. Rita head coach Mike Zunica. “That was a big come-from-behind win against a quality De La Salle team. Mike was a little emotional in the first three innings and then he settled in and was outstanding. Jake really came through in the clutch hits for us tonight. We had been struggling in that area as of late.”

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