Prep Baseball Report

No. 7 Providence Rolls Past No. 16 St. Laurence Behind Villasenor and Hunniford

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

BURBANK, IL – No. 7 Providence rode the arm of senior ace righthander Brenton Villasenor to a convincing 7-2 victory on Monday afternoon at No. 16 St. Laurence.

The Celtics got on the board first in the top of the second, as senior designated hitter Justin Hunniford and junior outfielder Noah O’Brien posted back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second against St. Laurence senior righty Frank Greco. Junior outfielder Tom Kelley scored Hunniford on an RBI double deep down the right field line, and senior catcher Mike Jerik lofted a sacrifice fly to left to give Providence an early 2-0 lead.

Villasenor pitched out of jams in the second and the third, stranding runners at first and third in the second, and escaping a bases loaded situation in third. The University of Chicago signee then cruised through the fourth and fifth innings, retiring six straight hitters, helping his cause for a complete game with a four pitch inning in the fourth to keep his pitch count down.

Providence added two more runs in the top of the fourth, with Hunniford and O’Brien once again leading off with back to back singles, Hunniford’s a line drive shot to left field, O’Brien’s a push bunt single. Hunniford, headed to North Central College to play quarterback, finished 4-for-4 with three runs scored and four line shot singles. Junior shortstop Jackson Stulas scored Hunniford on an RBI single to right, and junior second baseman Mike Madej’s RBI groundout to first pushed the Celtic lead to 4-0.

St. Laurence finally broke through against Villasenor in the sixth, as junior catcher Anthony Rios led off with a line drive single to center. Senior center fielder Sean Burnette (2-for-4) followed up with an RBI-double down the line in right, to put runners on second and third with no outs. With the infield back, senior pinch-hitter Jake Tholl plated Rios on an RBI groundout, but Villasenor came up big to thwart a rally, striking out the next two Viking hitters and stranding Burnette at third.

Providence added three insurance runs in the seventh that would prove to be huge, as Hunniford once again provided some punch with an RBI-single between short and third to start the scoring. Junior pinch-hitter Matt Waznis provided the knockout blow with a two-RBI double to left center to give the Celtics a 7-1 lead.

St. Laurence mounted a rally in the bottom of the seventh against Villasenor. With one out, sophomore first baseman Tommy Farrell (3-for-4, three singles) singled to left center. Senior shortstop Nick Verta (2-for-4) followed with a single. Rios singled to short on a tough hop that hit Providence shortstop Jackson Stulas in the chin, scoring Farrell. Villasenor nailed down the victory recording a groundout to Stulas to give the Celtics a 7-2 win. The senior righthander improves to 5-0 on the season, and did not walk a batter while scattering nine hits with three strikeouts. He threw 73 of his 103 pitches for strikes.

Providence improves to 17-3 on the season (7-0 in the CCL), and the schedule doesn’t get any easier with St. Laurence again today at Providence at 4:30, and undefeated No. 1 St. Rita on Wednesday and Saturday. St. Laurence drops to 14-4 (5-2 in the CCL Blue).

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