Baseball: Nazareth’s Purpura stymies Glenbard South
Glen Ellyn - Baseball sectional semifinal: Nazareth vs. Glenbard South. Dominic Purpura pitches for the Roadrunners. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 18, 2012 4:40PM
Superstition and an elusive financial incentive were the only things to trip up Dominic Purpura on Wednesday.
The Nazareth left-hander pitched a one-hitter with five strikeouts in the Roadrunners’ 8-2 win over host Glenbard South in the Class 3A sectional semifinals.
Purpura, who threw a no-hitter in last year’s regional finals, was denied a similar gem Wednesday on a lead-off single in the seventh by the Raiders’ Justin Joseph.
“He jinxed himself because he said it (no-hitter) going out in the seventh inning,” Nazareth coach Lee Milano said. “His father told him he’d give him $100 if he got the no-hitter, so that went right out the window.”
But Purpura (who has a 17-3 record over the last two seasons) was on the money in a bigger sense, quickly slamming the door on Glenbard South’s hopes by retiring 15 of the first 16 hitters he faced (13 in a row at one point).
“Mixing up speeds was the biggest thing,” Purpura said. “Mostly when I was ahead in the count I would come with the fastball for a good change of pace.
“I give all the credit to my defense. There were a couple hard fly balls that they hit, but my outfielders got to the ball quick and made some nice plays.”
Nazareth (28-9) provided all the offensive support Purpura would need with a five-run second inning. Tim Dalporto opened the frame with a double, and Jake Bartels (RBI triple), Ryan Marske (RBI single), Purpura (bunt single), Kyle Piotrowski (2-RBI triple) and Sean Maloney (RBI bunt single) followed with hits as the Roadrunners displayed their offensive versatility.
“We had good at-bats today,” Milano said. “The kids did a really good job of executing, hitting behind runners, sacrificing guys over, bunting for hits. They did whatever they had to and did a nice job.
“We faced 10 Division I pitchers in our conference. When you’re facing guys like that two and three times a week, you have to think you’ll be ready for the playoffs.”
Dalporto continued his sizzling sophomore season, going 4-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI.
“I just try to go out and play one pitch at a time, the way Coach has been preaching it,” DalPporto said.
“Timmy stepped up as a sophomore,” Milano said. “It’s not surprising because he hit .480 in conference.”
Glenbard South (26-11) had won 20 of its previous 24 games entering Wednesday, but fell behind 7-0 through five innings largely because of Nazareth’s second-inning explosion.
They were sitting on fastballs,” Raiders’ coach Mike Riley said, “and if you’re not getting a good breaking ball over against this team and keeping the ball down, you’re going to get hit hard. That’s a good baseball team. They played solid.”
Glenbard South scored its two runs via two errors and a walk in the sixth inning.
Nazareth will bid for its second straight sectional title on Saturday.
“We have to play good baseball, believe in what our coaches are saying and back up all of our pitchers because they’ve been doing a great job for us all season,” Dalporto said of the Roadrunners’ bid to continue their postseason run.
“I think as a team we’re battle tested,” Milano said. “With the conference we play in and being involved in the sectional and supersectional the last three years, we’d like to think somehow that’s going to come into play in a positive light.”