Baseball: St. Laurence falls 4-2 to Nazareth in Phil Lawler Summer Classic
By Mike Clark firstname.lastname@example.org July 22, 2014 4:08PM
Lisle, 07/22/14--St. Laurence's RF Kevin Aderman makes a sliding catch of a sinking line drive in short right. Nazareth played St. Laurence in a Phil Lawler Summer Classic baseball game Tuesday morning. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 24, 2014 6:35AM
Michael Kogut wasn’t supposed to get the start Tuesday morning for Nazareth, and St. Laurence probably wished he didn’t.
The senior did wind up throwing, though, and kept the Vikings in check to the tune of a 4-2 victory in pool play of the Phil Lawler Summer Classic at Benedictine in Lisle.
Nazareth (23-11) advances to a 5 p.m. Wednesday semifinal at Benedictine against Prairie Ridge.
Roadrunners coach Lee Milano called Kogut on Monday night and told the 6-foot-5 righty he’d be pitching the second game Tuesday if Nazareth lost to St. Laurence.
“I could sense disappointment in his voice,” Milano said.
He wasn’t imagining it.
“Going into the (spring) season, I’m looking to be the best guy on the staff,” Kogut said. “So I want the ball in big games, every game I can get.”
That feeling was even more intense because Kogut hadn’t pitched in a couple of weeks because of what he called “a little injury.”
“I really tossed and turned all night and made a decision (Tuesday morning) to start him,” Milano said.
It worked out. St. Laurence scored a run in the first on two singles and Tom Farrell’s steal of home on the front end of a double steal, but catcher Sean Gipson helped his batterymate by throwing out one runner trying to steal third and picked another off first.
The Vikings added another run in the third on a walk, single, hit batter and Sean Burnette’s sacrifice fly. They threatened again in the fifth, loading the bases before Kogut ended the inning with one of his nine strikeouts. And a line-drive double play got him out of the sixth.
He wound up with a four-hitter, six walks and two hit batters.
“First couple of innings, it’s a grind trying to shake off some of that rust that I’ve accumulated over the past week or two,” Kogut said. “But after that, lock in, get in a rhythm — it worked out.”
Not quite the way he expected, though.
“I want to get ahead with my fastball, which didn’t really work out (Tuesday),” he said. “Sometimes you struggle for command with your fastball (and) you’ve got to find a feel for your secondary (pitch). So I found myself throwing breaking balls in fastball counts.”
That wound up being an effective strategy.
“I was frustrated with our approach a little bit,” St. Laurence coach Pete Lotus said. “We swung at a lot of pitches, off-speed-wise, with two strikes that weren’t strikes, a couple of times with guys on base. ...
“We preach trying to put pressure on teams, put the ball in play. And we didn’t do a good job of that.”
Nazareth, on the other hand, did do that in the third inning when it scored three times to break a 1-all tie. Gipson led off with a single and went to third on Brandon Bossard’s double. A short fly to center left the runners at second and third, but two runs scored when Matt Wilson’s grounder eluded Vikings shortstop Nick Verta. The third run scored on Chris Campagna’s infield hit and another error by Verta.
Losing pitcher Frank Greco worked 62/3 innings, allowing two earned runs, eight hits and two walks (both in the first inning) with four strikeouts.
“Frank didn’t have his best stuff,” Lotus said. “(But) he really battled. I thought he did a really, really good job.”