St. Rita's offense KOs St. Laurence

By Drake Skleba
Senior Writer

BURBANK- In 2009, St Rita head coach Mike Zunica’s Mustangs brought home the inaugural Phil Lawler Summer State Championship Trophy back to 7740 South Western Avenue in Chicago. After Thursday morning’s pasting of archrival St. Laurence, 10-3, Zunica’s 2013 Mustang edition, will be strong favorites to take home the 5th Annual Phil Lawler trophy back to the South Side, a week from tonight at Benedictine University in Lisle.

With the win the Mustangs are the 2013 Reavis Regional Summer Champions. They will play at either North Central College in Naperville or Benedictine University in Lisle in First-Round action in the 2013 Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association/ Phil Lawler Classic State Tournament on Monday.

The Mustangs unloaded on St. Laurence All-State right-hander Mike Kornacker (Purdue), knocking the future Boilermaker out in the Mustang’s six-run fifth inning. Mustang junior first baseman Tony Faron ripped a bases-clearing double to give St. Rita a 6-1 lead. University of Notre Dame-bound DH Jake Shepski, senior Jake Drada (2-for-3, 2 RBI) and senior Chris Delgadillo all had RBI singles in the inning. Kornacker gave up eight runs, seven earned, with eight hits in his 4 1/3 innings of work.

On the mound, Austin Peay-bound lefty Mike Costanzo was dealing. The future Governor fired five no-hit innings at the Vikings with nine strikeouts. Viking SS Brad Wood broke up Constanza’s no-no bid with a leadoff double, in the top of the sixth. After one out, consecutive RBI singles from Kornacker and senior Roger Wilson brought the Vikings within 9-3.

Faron led off the seventh with a solo-shot to conclude the scoring.

“I was very selective today and hit the ball well,” said Faron. “I got a lucky pitch from Kornacker and hit the double and on the home run I got a high fastball and drove it out.”

Costanzo chalked up punch-out numbers 10-11-12 to end the game with a flourish in the bottom of the seventh.  

“I was aware of the no-hitter. It didn’t faze me,” said Costanzo. “I wasn’t about to let down in the seventh and really threw the ball well.”

St. Laurence bows out at 12-6 for the Vikings summer season.

“We are going to send up nine guys that are really going to do well for us next season,’” said Zunica. “This has been a real jump on the spring for us by facing Mike Kornacker in a big game like this. It really shows us what we have for the spring. Tony Faron has shown us he can perform well at this level.

“I love Mike Costanzo,” said Zunica. “I’ve been doing this for 22 years and I haven’t a kid like him who would not let me take the ball out of his hands. He’s a battler. He’s the complete competitor. We’re big fans of Mike, plus he’s Italian.” 

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