St. Rita Rides Southpaw Matt Ryan's Complete Game Shutout To Victory Over Mount Carmel

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

CHICAGO, IL – Mount Carmel may have wrapped up a Chicago Catholic League-Blue championship with Tuesday’s victory over Providence, but don’t tell players from the Caravan or St. Rita that Wednesday’s matchup was meaningless. The No. 3 Mustangs rode the arm of senior lefthander Matt Ryan, aided by stellar defensive play behind him, to a 1-0 victory over their No. 2 ranked rivals on Wednesday afternoon on the campus of St. Rita.

Mount Carmel entered the game 14-0 in conference, and with St. Rita dropping an extra-inning heartbreaker to Brother Rice 3-2 on Tuesday (giving the Mustangs their third conference loss), the much anticipated two-game series no longer had conference title implications. Bragging rights on the south side of Chicago still brought out a few hundred fans with a playoff type atmosphere, and Matt Ryan approached it that way.

The Butler University-bound southpaw held a potent Caravan offense to only four hits in his complete game effort, striking out three while only walking two. Ryan put an exclamation point on his great outing, striking out the final batter of the game with runners on first and second. The seventh inning marked the only time the Caravan advanced a runner into scoring position against St. Rita’s crafty lefty, who improved to 5-0 on the season.

Mixing in a steady diet of off-speed stuff highlighted by a sharp breaking curveball, Ryan had the Caravan hitters off balance throughout. Senior third baseman Esteban Martinez made several nice defensive plays in support of Ryan, and senior centerfielder Shane Peisker stole the show with a highlight reel robbery of a potential Jeremy Houston (Indiana commit) two-run home run in the fourth inning.

“That’s the best team in the state over there”, St. Rita’s Ryan stated. “Growing up they’ve always been our rivals, and it’s the best offense in the state besides the one in our own dugout. I pitched my game, which is changing speeds and letting my defensive work behind me. I don’t throw upper 80’s or low 90’s, and I know from experience I have to throw strikes to be successful”.

St. Rita pushed across their only run of the game against Mount Carmel sophomore Cameron Hupe in the fifth. Sophomore catcher Cal Greenfield led off with a hard hit line drive to right. After a strikeout, Hupe walked back-to-back hitters to load the bases. Hupe notched another strikeout for the second out of the inning, and it looked as though he may wiggle out of the jam. A fastball on the inner half got away from the young righthander, hitting St. Rita left fielder Mateo Zunica and giving the Mustangs a 1-0 advantage.

Despite taking the loss, Hupe showed signs of an ace in the making for the Caravan, scattering four hits with seven strikeouts and three walks in his complete game. All seven strikeouts were of the swinging variety, an indication of the arsenal the young righthander possesses, highlighted by a fastball hovering in the mid 80’s and a sharp breaking curveball.

For the Mustangs, senior second baseman Tyler Halas added a double in the seventh, while Anthony Faron, Marty Bechina, and Greenfield all added singles.

Mount Carmel could only muster four singles off Ryan. Senior second baseman Ako Thomas (Michigan signee), Louisville signee Josh Stowers, Wake Forest commit Bobby Seymour, and Grambling State signee Nick Wheeler all notched one hit apiece for the Caravan.

St. Rita coach Mike Zunica said, “Matt (Ryan) lost his spot in the rotation at a point this year, so it’s great payback for a kid being a great teammate all year pitching in any role we asked of him. Our defense has been really solid all year, with guys who can pick it in the infield and three centerfielder’s in the outfield. We are in ‘get better every day mode’ right now preparing for the playoffs”.

With the victory, St. Rita improves to 28-3 on the year, while Mount Carmel drops to 26-3. The two storied programs will square off once again this Saturday at Mount Carmel in an 11 am start.

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