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Baseball: Reavis riding hot streak into postseason

Joliet Catholic head coach Jared Voss during game against St. Ritfor 3rd Annual Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Baseball Tourament Friday

Joliet Catholic head coach Jared Voss during the game against St. Rita for the 3rd Annual Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Baseball Tourament, Friday, May 23rd, 2014 in Crestwood. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 29, 2014 6:33AM



Reavis started the season slowly, losing five of its first six games. At one point, the Rams were 8-17.

However, an eight-game winning streak has coach Don Erickson’s squad at 16-17. Reavis upended three 20-win teams — Oak Forest, De La Salle and Vernon Hills — during the streak.

A victory Thursday over Simeon in a Class 4A St. Laurence Regional will get the Rams to .500.

“We’re playing well lately,” Erickson said. “We’ve been in a lot of close games and I think that’s helped us out in the long run. Our hitting has gotten a little better, but the big difference is our fielding. We’re picking it up better.”

The Rams pitching staff, which sports a 2.23 ERA, has been a constant source of excellence. The staff hasn’t allowed an earned run in its last 35 innings.

“Our pitching has always been really good,” Erickson said.

The combination of left-handers Belal Abuzir and Jose Romero has been superb. Abuzir beat Oak Forest 2-1 and Richards 7-1. Romero racked up 15 strikeouts during a 2-1 win over De La Salle.

Lael Robles, when he’s not behind the plate as catcher, has provided valuable innings on the bump. Jorge Hernandez has been a key figure out of the bullpen, boasting a 0.69 ERA.

Offensively, Matt Kopp and Matt Barajas have been stellar all season.

“It’s been hitting by committee lately,” Erickson said. “Different guys getting key hits. Someone will walk, will bunt them over and get a key hit. It’s a good time to be rolling.”

Home cookin’ for Joliet Catholic

Joliet Catholic coach Jared Voss is hoping home-field advantage during regional competition benefits his squad.

The Hilltoppers, who host a regional that will include a battle between Oak Forest and Lemont on Wednesday, play Lincoln-West on Thursday. Joliet Catholic’s field is spacious, which Voss hopes will negate opponents’ power and play to his team’s advantage.

“We have a really big yard,” Voss said. “There are some big hitters in Lincoln-Way West’s lineup in (Zach) Speaker and (Luke) Morgan, and Lemont has (Mike) Wisz and (Mike) Papierski. It’s tough to get the ball out off our park. It could be a game-changer.”

Player of the Week

Sam Geraci, of Illinois Lutheran, is the SouthtownStar Baseball Player of the Week.

Geraci, a senior shortstop, was 4-for-5 with a double, homer, two runs and five RBI. He’s 16-for-18 in his last six games.



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