Baseball: St. Laurence rolls past Homewood-Flossmoor in summer tourney
By Pat Disabato email@example.com July 16, 2013 3:26PM
Mike Kornacker, of St. Laurence, watches his solo shot clear the fence deep center against Homewood-Flossmoor for the Reavis Regional Summer State Tournament at Brother Rice High School, Tuesday, July 16tth, 2013, in Chicago. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 19, 2013 2:06PM
Even without many of its seniors, St. Laurence was able to register an impressive 10-5 mark during the summer league’s regular season.
Now immersed with a full contingent of upperclassmen, St. Laurence has provided a glimpse of its enormous potential during the first two games of the Reavis Regional of the Phil Lawler Summer Classic.
St. Laurence followed its 10-0 win Monday over Shepard with a 13-3 six-inning victory Tuesday against Homewood-Flossmoor at sun-soaked Brother Rice.
St. Laurence banged out 11 hits and took advantage of 10 walks by five H-F pitchers. Mike Kornacker led the way with a 4-for-5 effort, with two home runs and five RBI. Kornacker, the SouthtownStar 2013 Baseball Player of the Year, blasted a grand slam in the sixth inning that made it 13-3 and invoked the 10-run rule.
“Mike’s been hitting balls hard all summer,” St. Laurence coach Pete Lotus said. “He gets two strikes on him and he’s been hitting balls hard going the other way. He has that type of ability.”
H-F, which was 9-0 entering the contest, led 3-1 going to the bottom of the third inning. But bases-loaded walks to Roger Wilson and Mike Miller by H-F starter Isaac Cutrara tied the game at 3.
St. Laurence took the lead for good in the fourth. Nate Tholl tripled home two runs to make it 5-3, and when the relay throw to third scooted into the dugout, Tholl was allowed to cross home plate for a 6-3 advantage.
“They (H-F) pulled in the infield, so I was just trying to get the ball into the outfield,” Tholl said. “The count was 2-and-1, so I didn’t think he’d throw me an off-speed pitch. He threw me a fastball and I was ready.”
Kevin White (2-for-2, 2 walks, 2 RBI) added an RBI single in the fifth to make it 7-3. In the sixth, St. Laurence added six runs on just one hit, that being Kornacker’s monster blast that hugged the left-field line.
“Oh, my gosh, that was ridiculous,” Tholl said of Kornacker’s second homer.
Brad Wood was 2-for-3 and reached base four times for St. Laurence.
John Riordon starred on the mound for St. Laurence, coming on in relief of starter Frank Greco with two and two outs in the fourth.
Riordon struck out Kendall King to end the threat. Riordon slammed the door the rest of the way, allowing just one hit and striking out four in 21/3 innings.
“I just came in and tried to throw strikes and keep the ball low,” said Riordon, a junior right-hander. “I tried to keep them at three runs.”
What pleased Lotus most was his team’s ability to rally from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits.
“It was good to see us come back (Tuesday),” Lotus said. “One thing we didn’t do this spring was come back when we got down. We’d lose confidence when we were down. The new guys have come in and meshed with the older guys.”
James Sheehan’s sacrifice fly and Derrion Thomas’s two-out double in the first inning staked Homewood-Flossmoor to a 2-0 lead. Thomas added a sacrifice fly in the third to make it 3-1. Jon Brandt, Jesse Forestell, Zach Taylor, Packer Coleman, King and Sheehan had H-F’s other hits.
The loss didn’t dampen a successful summer for H-F, which didn’t have the services of junior Jeremy Orbik, who chose to play travel ball.
According to H-F coach Todd Sippel, the hard-throwing right-hander has a scholarship offer from Kentucky and has been contacted by UCLA, which won the 2013 College World Series.
“We walked too many hitters,” Sippel said. “I saw some good things this summer. We made some big strides and we didn’t have Orbik.
“I’m excited. There are some good things that are going to happen in the future here.”