St. Laurence's Kornacker steals the show, blanks Providence



By Drake Skleba
Senior Writer

BURBANK - Thirteen MLB scouts were at Viking Field in Burbank to see Providence Catholic’s LSU-bound right-hander Jake Godfrey. Opposing the top-ranked Godfrey was St.Laurence and its Purdue-bound right-hander Mike Kornacker.

As it turned out, Kornacker stole the show, as the future Boilermaker fired a two-hit shutout at Providence as the Vikings routed the Celtics, 8-0. Kornacker (5-1) struck out 11, including the last Celtic batter to end the game.

“Opposing Jake (Godfrey) today, I knew runs were going to be at a premium and I would have to  be at the top of my game,”said Kornacker. “All of my pitches were working exceptionally well today and it was a huge CCL-Blue win for us.  Knowing the scouts were here to see Jake and not me had absolutely no effect on my performance. I just went out there and threw strikes.”

Both pitchers put up goose-eggs on the Viking Field scoreboard in the first three innings. Godfrey (2-3) had not allowed a hit with eight strikeouts while Kornacker had allowed one hit with five strikeouts.Kornacker put another goose-egg on the board in the fourth and St. Laurence (17-2; 6-1) picked up three unearned runs against Godfrey in the bottom of the fourth.

The Vikes picked up the first run on a Celtic throwing error and senior centerfielder Kevin White singled home the second run of the inning. The third run was scored on one of four Godfrey wild pitches.

St. Laurence put the game, and Godfrey, away in the fifth. Senior first-baseman Roger Wilson had an RBI single and junior Mike Finger crushed a 2-0 Godfrey fastball with the bases loaded, inside the third baseline for a three-run double to make the score 8-0.

“I was a little nervous facing a great pitcher like Godfrey,” said Finger. “I told myself to calm down and I really crushed a fastball for the three-run double.”

Godfrey threw five innings, allowing eight runs and four hits. Five of the runs were earned and he struck out nine and walked two. Three of his strikeout victims reached first base on dropped-third strikes with one scoring.

“This was just another of so many big-game victories Mike has achieved for us in his stellar four-year career at St. Laurence,” said St. Laurence head coach Pete Lotus. “He was dominant throughout the game  and he showed what a great athlete he is when he singled and stole second base.”

No. 15 Providence (15-6; 6-1) falls for the first-time in CCL Blue play and will host 9th-ranked St. Laurence on Monday at Tom Dedin Field in New Lenox at 4:30.

“In the last couple of seasons it’s been very difficult to win on the road in the CCL-Blue,” said Lotus. “We will have to play well on Monday to achieve our goal.”

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