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Baseball: St. Rita tops Libertyville 4-1 to reach summer championship game

St. Ritsecond baseman Matt Murawski throws out runner first against Libertyville.  | JLangham~For Sun-Times Media

St. Rita second baseman Matt Murawski throws out a runner at first against Libertyville. | Jon Langham~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 26, 2013 4:18PM



Hitting Mike Costanzo is a tough assignment for any team.

But a club with four left-handed batters in the lineup faces an even more difficult task as Libertyville discovered Wednesday night.

The St. Rita lefty struck out 13 after spotting the Wildcats an early run as the Mustangs won 4-1 in the semifinals of the Phil Lawler Summer Classic at Benedictine University in Lisle.

St. Rita (16-5) will go for its first summer title since 2009 and third since 2005 when it plays Lyons (26-6) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Benedictine.

“I didn’t have it, obviously, early on, but just found a way to work with it,” said Costanzo, who has committed to Austin Peay. “Had the defense behind me, trusted my ability with what I had (Wednesday night).”

“You never want to feel good going into a game but when you have him on the mound, it’s hard not to feel good,” St. Rita coach Mike Zunica said.

“We really felt the whole way, two or three runs were going to be enough with the stuff he had. ... We thought he had electric stuff from the bullpen all the way up to the first inning, even though the first inning didn’t go very well.”

Libertyville (18-5) opened the bottom of the first by putting the first two runners on base as Jimmy Govern had an infield hit and Costanzo hit Matt Reed with a pitch. Costanzo’s error moved the runners up and Mitch Townsend’s groundout scored Govern to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.

Then Costanzo, who walked five and allowed four hits, settled in and Libertyville didn’t get another runner past second until the seventh inning.

St. Rita, meanwhile, edged ahead with the help of some defensive lapses by Libertyville.

The Mustangs went up 2-1 with two unearned runs in the third, scoring on Tyler Halas’ sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk to A.J. Fuller. The Wildcats had two errors in the inning.

Another error helped the Mustangs make it 3-1 in the fourth, when Nate Soria drove in a run with a forceout. Soria’s sacrifice fly in the sixth drove in the game’s only earned run.

Andrew Plunkett took the loss, going six innings and allowing eight hits and four runs (one earned). He walked four and struck out three.

Anthony Faron was 3-for-4 for St. Rita and Shane Peisker went 2-for-2 with a double.



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