By John Nee '93
The varsity baseball team lost 21 seniors to graduation this past spring including 25 of the team’s 29 wins on the mound. Inexperienced with potential is a way to describe the 2018 St. Rita pitching staff. They did not disappoint this week as the staff gave up three runs in four games as the Mustangs won the Richards Regional to advance to The Phil Lawler Summer Classic in Naperville next week.
Seniors Mike Rios and Payton Condon, along with juniors Matt Callahan, Diego Koval, Logan Strutz, Vic Aguilar, Mike Benson and sophomore Justin Valdez combined this week to allow only three earned runs in 22 innings pitched as St. Rita won doubleheaders over Oak Lawn and Brother Rice on Tuesday and Bremen and Mt. Carmel on Thursday. It will be St. Rita’s first appearance in the Lawler Classic since winning the tournament title in 2013. The Mustangs also took home the summer state championship in 2005 and 2009.
The Mustangs offense also provided some fireworks on the week as they scored 43 runs in their four wins. Sophomore Luke Napleton led the charge in the semis and championship game as he had a two-run single and RBI triple against Bremen in the semis, and he provided the big blow against Mt. Carmel in the championship game with a bases-clearing, three-run triple to put the game away.
The Mustangs (11-3-1) will next play at Naperville Central High School on Monday July 17th against Lake Park High School. Game time on Monday is 10:00 a.m. The full tournament schedule can be found at www.tourneymachine.com.