High School Baseball: Marian reaches title game
By Pat Disabato email@example.com June 8, 2012 2:48PM
Marian Catholic pitcher Brett Lilek celebrates with Devin Pickett after pitching a shutout in a 3-0 state baseball semifinal win over Nazareth Academy. | John Patsch~For Sun-Times Media
Games at Silver Cross Field, Joliet
Oak Park-River Forest 8, Grant 2
Lyons 6, Minooka 2
Third place: Grant vs. Minooka, 3 p.m.
Championship: Oak Park-River Forest vs. Lyons, 5 p.m.
Games at Silver Cross Field, Joliet
LaSalle Peru 5, Troy Triad 2
Marian Catholic 3, Nazareth 0
Third place: Troy Triad vs.
Nazareth, 9 a.m.
Championship: LaSalle Peru
vs. Marian Catholic, 11 a.m.
Updated: July 11, 2012 10:20AM
Baseball truly is a team game.
However, there’s no denying Marian Catholic pitcher Brett Lilek stole the show Friday against Nazareth.
Lilek (7-4) fired a two-hitter and struck out 11 to lead Marian to a 3-0 victory in a Class 3A semifinal at Silver Cross Field in Joliet.
The senior southpaw, who was selected Wednesday by the Seattle Mariners in the 37th round of the Major League Baseball draft, also was a factor with the bat, going 2-for-2 with a run and RBI.
“We’re clicking on all cylinders,” said Lilek, an Arizona State recruit. “We knew we had it in ourselves and had the talent to go all the way.”
The win sends Marian Catholic (24-17) to the first state championship game in the baseball program’s history. The Spartans take on LaSalle Peru (34-6), a 5-2 winner over Troy, on Saturday at 11 a.m.
“Just another tremendous ball game,” Marian coach Phil Wail said. “Brett was great. He’s really stepped it up.”
Lilek allowed a single to Kyle Piotrowski to lead off the game but picked him off first base moments later. Mark Perrone was the only other Roadrunner to record a hit, singling in the third.
Lilek walked four, including three over the final four innings. Nazareth, though, never had a runner reach third base.
“I thought going into the game it was going to be a couple run game,” Nazareth coach Lee Milano said. “Brett was outstanding.”
Lilek’s 11 punchouts, including the side in the seventh, took considerable pressure off the Spartans defense. However, when called upon, Marian’s gloves were flawless.
“Nazareth came out swinging right away,” Marian outfielder Rob Cifelli said. “But when Brett is pitching like he’s been, he’s really tough.”
Cifelli gave the Marian fans much to cheer about in the third. The 5-foot-6 senior put a charge into an 0-and-1 offering from pitcher Jake Bartels and sent it into the Bud Beach in right field for a homer.
The solo blast extended the Spartans’ lead to 2-0.
“That’s the first homer I’ve ever hit in my high school career,” Cifelli said. “I didn’t think it was gone. I was trying to get three (a triple), but then I saw it go over (the fence).”
Wail called his leadoff hitter’s homer a “Twilight Zone” moment.
Erik Callaghan gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead in the second inning. After Lilek stroked a one-out single, Callaghan followed with a triple into the left-center field gap that scored pinch-runner Eric Hurley.
Marian tacked on a run in the seventh when Pat Schmidt tripled and scored on Lilek’s sacrifice fly for a 3-0 spread.
The Spartans, just 18-17 entering the postseason, stand one win away from a state championship.
Wail wasn’t certain who was going to get the start on the mound Saturday, either Ben Santori (3-2, 2.67 ERA) or Ryan Wasso (5-3, 2.20).
But the way Marian’s pitching staff has been performing this postseason — three shutouts in five games — it might not matter who gets the call.
“This is four games in a row where we haven’t allowed any earned runs,” Wail said. “We’ve been putting the ball in play and playing good defense and pitching well.”