Baseball: St. Rita erupts past Marist is summer tourney regional
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media July 15, 2013 3:56PM
Brother Rice 10, Evergreen Park 0
De La Salle 4, Oak Forest 3
Homewood-Flossmoor 4, Oak Lawn 0
St. Laurence 10, Shepard 0
Marian Catholic 8, Stagg 1
St. Rita 11, Marist 1
Bremen 4, Reavis 1
Richards 12, Eisenhower 0
Updated: August 17, 2013 6:31AM
St. Rita coach Mike Zunica wanted some energy.
Zunica got what he was looking for, courtesy of Marty Bechina.
The junior battled through his leadoff at-bat in the fifth inning, reaching base via a hit by pitch, stealing second and coming home on a hook slide to score the go-ahead run to jump-start an offensive explosion.
Host St. Rita went up 2-1 on Bechina’s run and never looked back, scoring four runs in the fifth and six more in the sixth to defeat Marist 11-1 in six innings Monday in opening-round action of the Reavis Regional of the Phil Lawler Illinois Baseball Summer State Tournament.
“We had to do what we know we’re capable of doing,” Bechina said. “We had to be aggressive, get guys on, get them over and get them in. Just hit the ball and score those runs.”
St. Rita (8-4) will play Marian Catholic at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Reavis.
Bechina finished 1-for-2 with two runs and two stolen bases, also making two defensive gems at shortstop. The Mustangs, who finished with 15 hits, found themselves in a 1-all game heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Zunica implored his team to show a little life, and the Mustangs responded.
“Kids are tired now playing so much baseball, and we wanted to see a little energy,” Zunica said. “Couple of more happy faces.”
Bechina came home on A.J. Fuller’s hard-hit single to left field, avoiding the tag with a nice slide for the go-ahead run. Nate Soria followed with a triple to left, scoring Fuller.
Jake Shepski had an opposite-field RBI double to right-center, with Jake Drada (3-for-3, double, 2 RBI) hitting a bloop RBI single to center to cap the fifth-inning scoring.
“We switched our approach some and stayed back,” Bechina said. “We tried to use the middle of the field.”
The Mustangs scored six runs in the sixth to end the game.
On the mound, Mustangs pitcher Nick Goldsmith overcame the heat, humidity and his own body giving out on him late.
“I was in a rhythm early, but my body started to wear down some in the fourth or fifth,” Goldsmith said with a smile. “Mainly school ball, but I haven’t pitched that much this summer.
“It was all about pitching to our defense (late), and they made some great plays.”
Goldsmith went the route for the win, allowing one run on four hits and four walks with five strikeouts.
Pat Meehan’s sacrifice fly scored Mike Trbovic in the fifth for Marist (5-9). The RedHawks’ Robert Hovey pitched well before his fifth-inning struggles, going four-plus innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with four strikeouts.
“It was a good game through five,” Marist coach Tom Fabrizio said. “St. Rita is a good hitting team, and we knew that. If we keep the ball down (pitching), we’ll be OK.”