Crusaders wait before piling up more wins
Forget all you’ve ever heard about the early bird.
Brother Rice has grown to love being fashionably late when it comes to scoring its most important runs. And the waiting has proved worth it.
In all four of their outings last week, the Crusaders collected markers during their final at-bat. On two of those occasions, the runs provided the margin of victory.
With four more wins to its credit, Rice stretched its unbeaten streak to eight games. This latest quartet of successes came at the expense of fellow Chicago Catholic League members, including De La Salle, which dropped a 4-0 decision on Saturday.
Making the conquest of the Meteors significant was that De La Salle was only two days removed from its own 4-0 win over defending Catholic League Blue champ St. Laurence.
Pitcher Brian Musielak kept the Meteors off the scoreboard despite getting nicked for nine hits. De La Salle actually outhit the Crusaders (15-3, 4-0) by one, but the latter registered half of their eight safeties in the bottom of the sixth to give themselves some breathing room.
Two of those hits — Erich Lieser’s double and Mike Schalasky’s single — drove in runs, as did the bases-loaded walk Kevin Sullivan coaxed from the Meteors’ hurler. Lieser also singled home Rice’s initial marker in the fourth frame as Mike Massey (single) crossed the plate.
Massey’s RBI double pushed the Crusaders’ lead to 3-0 over Fenwick in the second inning on Thursday. It followed Kevin Biondic’s two-run triple that opened Rice’s scoring in the top of the first.
Andrew Dyke’s single upped the margin to 4-1 in the fifth, but the Friars then came to life in the bottom of that same stanza. They knotted the score at 4-all, then traded goose eggs with the Crusaders over the next three frames.
Finally in the 10th, Rice got the last say. It did so after Musielak doubled, moved to third on a groundout and raced home on a wild pitch.
Mike Enriquez notched the win for the Crusaders in relief of Biondic. Enriquez allowed just three hits over 3 2/3 innings and was able to overcome four bases-on-balls. Ian McGinnis shut down Fenwick in the bottom of the 10th to earn a save.
Massey ended the day 3-for-3, while Dyke went 2-for-3 to fuel a nine-hit Rice offense.
The Crusaders snapped another tie in the sixth inning last Wednesday, using Dyke’s two-out, two-RBI double to pin a 6-4 loss on Bishop McNamara. Dyke’s hit chased in Schalasky and Matt Hughes, who had walked and singled, respectively, ahead of him.
That made a winner of freshman pitcher Ryan Kutt for the fourth consecutive time this spring. Kutt scattered six hits over six innings, struck out three and walked two.
The Fightin’ Irish did all of their damage at the outset, scoring four times in their initial at-bat. Rice quickly responded, however, as it tallied three runs in the bottom of the first on hits by Lieser and Dyke and a sacrifice fly from Musielak. Massey and Sullivan also hit safely in the inning.
Sullivan’s sacrifice fly then pulled the Crusaders even at 4-all in the fourth. Schlaskey tallied the run after singling and advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt.
The only laugher among Rice’s contests was Tuesday’s encounter with St. Joseph. The Crusaders did score in their last trip to the plate, but they had taken command long before that.
Seven runs in the third gave Rice a 10-0 advantage, and it went on to post a 15-3 slaughter-rule triumph in five innings. Between them, Kyle Hilliard, Danny Beese, Sullivan and Lieser accounted for eight RBI and four extra-base hits in support of McGinnis, who bagged the pitching win after striking out seven and giving up only three hits.
Brother Rice 127 14 — 15
St. Joseph 201 00 — 3
Brother Rice 2B: Beese, Hilliard. 3B: Lieser, Sullivan. RBI: Hilliard 3, Beese 2, Sullivan 2, Lieser. WP: McGinnis (3-1).
Bishop McNamara 400 000 0 — 4
Brother Rice 300 102 x — 6
Brother Rice 2B: Dyke, Schalasky. RBI: Dyke 3, Lieser, Musielak, Sullivan. WP: Kutt (4-0).
Brother Rice 210 010 000 1 — 5
Fenwick 010 003 000 0 — 4
Brother Rice 2B: Massey, Musielak. 3B: Biondic. RBI: Biondic 2, Dyke, Massey. WP: Enriquez (3-1).
De La Salle 000 000 0 — 0
Brother Rice 000 103 x — 4
Brother Rice 2B: Lieser. RBI: Lieser 2, Schalasky, Sullivan. WP: Musielak (3-1).