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Baseball: Joliet Catholic blanks Brother Rice

Joliet Catholic's Nick Morrisconnects against Brother Rice Brother Rice Tuesday April 1st 2014 Chicago | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media

Joliet Catholic's Nick Morrison connects against Brother Rice at Brother Rice, Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 in Chicago | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 3, 2014 6:32AM



Good teams make opponents pay for their mistakes.

That’s precisely what Joliet Catholic, the defending Class 3A state champion, did Tuesday to Brother Rice in Chicago.

The Hilltoppers took advantage of four errors by the Crusaders and eased to a 4-0 win.

“They attacked our hitters and made all of the plays,” Brother Rice coach John McCarthy said. “That was the difference.”

Three pitchers spun a two-hit shutout for Joliet Catholic (3-0). However, the varsity debut of right-hander Drake Fellows is what stood out. Fellows, a sophomore already committed to Vanderbilt, allowed one hit over three innings and struck out six.

“I felt great out there,” said Fellows, a Plainfield resident. “To be able to get outside and throw the ball for the varsity was a great feeling.”

Danny Ehrsam and Zach Jackovich each pitched two innings in relief of Fellows.

An ugly fourth inning doomed Brother Rice (7-2). The Crusaders committed three errors, which led to three runs for Joliet Catholic.

With Nick Dalesandro (walk) on second base and one out, John Kalisik reached on a throwing error, putting runners on the corners.

Nick Morrison hit what appeared to be an inning-ending double-play ball. But shortstop Kevin Sullivan’s relay throw to first base sailed high, allowing Morrison to reach and Kalisik to score the game’s first run. Keegan Tyrell then singled to keep the inning alive before Mike Quiram delivered a base hit that Rice outfielder Joe Crowley had trouble getting a handle on, allowing two runs to score for a 3-0 lead.

Joliet Catholic tacked on a solo run in the fifth against reliever Kevin Biondic. Rylan Bannon walked to start the frame. After Biondic retired the next two hitters, Aaron Markley singled sharply, and when center fielder Erich Lieser couldn’t cleanly come up with the ball, Bannon scored for a 4-0 advantage.

Brother Rice starter Mike Enriquez deserved a better fate. The Lewis recruit allowed four hits, walked two and struck out three.

“Mike did a great job,” McCarthy said. “He had really good stuff.”

Rice had a chance to grab a 1-0 lead in third. Crowley stroked a two-out double to left and advanced to third on a wild pitch.

Sullivan hit a soft liner that appeared headed for left field, but Mitch Boe made a diving catch at shortstop to end the inning and preserve the scoreless tie.

Quiram also made a fine defensive play, executing an outstanding over-the-shoulder catch at third base of a Sullivan popup.



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