Baseball: Nazareth rolls past Little Village
Updated: May 28, 2012 3:53PM
Nazareth’s baseball team and its run total were both early risers on Saturday.
The host Roadrunners (27-9) struck for nine runs in the first two innings of their 10 a.m. regional final game against Little Village (20-7), and coasted from there to a 10-1 win and a spot in the Glenbard South sectional semifinals on Wednesday.
Ryan Marske (3-for-3) had the big hit of a five-run first inning, a two-RBI triple to deep left field that put Nazareth up 4-0.
“We really got our momentum rolling in that first inning,” Marske said. “It felt good to get things going early.”
“We definitely came in focused. Coach (Lee Milano) always asks us who we’re playing, and we answer ‘baseball,’ not the team. That really helps us stay focused.”
“Our focus was on what we do as a team and what we can do as individuals to give us a chance to win,” Milano said. “The kids did a nice job of staying back and putting the ball in play in the first couple of innings.”
Dominic Purpura (2-for-2, 3 RBI) singled home Marske with the final run of the first, then had a two-RBI single in the four-run second inning.
Sean Maloney (2-for-2) and Tim Dal Porto scored runs in each of the first two innings, and Maloney made a nice leaping catch to rob Little Village’s Pepe Reyes of a hit in the top of the first.
Starting pitcher Jake Bartels allowed just one hit over his three innings, a solo home run by Little Village’s Luis Brizuela in the third inning. Nazareth made extensive substitutions early, meaning reliever Eddie Gengo was the winning pitcher with four innings of one-hit, eight-strikeout relief.
“Jake got his work in,” Milano said, and his pitch count was nice and low so if we need him later in the week we have him. And Eddie did a nice job — he threw strikes.”
John D’Onofrio (RBI single in the third) and Patrick Houlihan (great defensive play at third base to take away a hit) were other standouts off the bench.
“I thought it was only right to give everybody a taste of winning a regional championship,” Milano said. “Some of those guys who got in for four or five innings hadn’t played a lot all year.”
Mark Perrone (2-for-4, RBI) and Mike Stromberg (RBI single in the first) were other top hitters in the win, which Nazareth hopes is a springboard to sectional success.
“Our pitching and defense all year has been good,” Milano said. “So we just have to continue to do that and not look ahead. Just play one pitch and one inning at a time, which has been our focus all year.”
“Staying focused, and definitely our defense,” Marske said. “ I think we have the tools, so as long as we play our game we can do it.”