Baseball: Catholic League All-Stars top Public League All-Stars 4-3
Mike Kornacker had to put some of his feelings aside Friday afternoon, but it was all for a good cause.
The recent St. Laurence grad used his bat and his arm to help the Catholic League All-Stars edge the Public League All-Stars 4-3 in their annual game at U.S. Cellular Field.
Though he’s a South Sider, Kornacker is not a White Sox guy.
“Die-hard Cubs fan,” he said. “I’ve been here multiple times to watch games. Any stadium like this, it’s great to play in. But Cubs fan — always will be.”
And this time, Kornacker found himself in the same dugout with some players on the other side of some spirited rivalries.
“I know a lot of these kids,” he said. “When you’re in the field (during the high school season), you’re rivals. But it’s fun to play with them.
“These are the teams you want to see lose, even if you’re not playing them. But you rely on them here.”
Kornacker, the fourth of five Catholic League pitchers, threw two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out one.
He also was 1-for-3 with a walk, a run and an RBI. Fenwick’s Gino Cavalieri singled him home in the top of the fifth to snap a 1-all tie, and two batters later, Gordon Tech’s Sam Colon smacked an RBI double to score Cavalieri for a 3-1 lead.
Kornacker’s groundout scored St. Laurence teammate Brad Wood in the top of the sixth with what turned out to be the decisive run.
The Public League rallied against Wood in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs — one earned — on an error and an RBI single by Lake View’s Kevin Garcia.
St. Rita’s Mike Costanzo started for the Catholic League and was dominant, retiring all six batters he faced on three strikeouts, a popout and two groundouts.
Knowing he was on a short leash allowed Costanzo to take a different approach than usual on the mound.
“I know I can just rear back and do what I do what I can the first two innings, not worry about the last five,” he said.
The tightness of the game didn’t surprise Costanzo.
“That team’s no joke over there,” he said of the Public Leaguers. “Look at the scoreboard: 4-3 is the way it should be.”
The Catholic League took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI double by Providence’s Niko Kutsulis. The Public League tied it in the fourth when Morgan Park’s James Davison singled, stole second and continued around to score on two throwing errors.
“This is about my fifth time playing on this field,” Davison said. “I’m getting kind of used to it now, kind of relaxed.”
De La Salle’s Alex Padilla followed Costanzo on the mound for the Catholic League and struck out one in one scoreless inning. Brother Rice’s Mike Enriquez struck out two and gave up the unearned run in the fourth, picking up the win when the Catholic League rallied in the top of the fifth.
Clemente’s Jonathan Figueroa started for the Public League and struck out three in two innings, allowing a run on three hits. Jones’ Adrian Brizuela threw a scoreless inning. Northside’s Zen Iwankiw took the loss, allowing two runs in two innings while striking out two.
Harlan’s Semaj Patterson gave up an unearned run in one inning and Morgan Park’s Christian Lipscomb worked a scoreless seventh.