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Regional baseball champs lead to exciting sectional matchups

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Since the Illinois High School Association baseball pairings came out, it appeared the Class 4A St. Laurence Sectional would be a battle between four Chicago Catholic League South Blue teams.

The league will have to settle for 75 percent. Reavis’s 5-4 shocker over fourth-seeded Mt. Carmel Saturday at Mt. Carmel’s regional squashed those plans.

But three other teams made it.

Top-seeded St. Laurence won its seventh straight regional title but didn’t have an easy time of it with a 3-2 win over Riverside-Brookfield to win the Oak Lawn Regional. Gage Olszak, Mike McCormick and winning pitcher Jimmy Burnette drove in runs for the Vikings (32-5).

Second-seeded Brother Rice improved to 28-9 with a 5-0 victory over Harlan to win the De La Salle Regional. It’s the Crusaders’ second regional title in a row. Ryan Kutt struck out 13 for Brother Rice.

Third-seeded St. Rita beat Lyons, 5-0 with Steve Washilewski pitching the shutout. The Mustangs are playing with some extra incentive as they are hoping for a huge finish in coach Mike Zunica’s final season.

St. Laurence was slated to play Reavis in the Battle of Burbank on Wednesday and Brother Rice is taking on St. Rita at 4 p.m. Thursday. The sectional championship is at 11 a.m. Saturday.

 Sandburg gets shot at the streak

Sandburg won the Class 4A T.F. North Regional with a 5-3 victory over Lockport on Saturday thanks in part to the pitching of Kevin Lane and that set the Eagles up to try to break the most amazing postseason streak in IHSA baseball history.

Sandburg was scheduled to face Providence Catholic in the opening round of the Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional on Wednesday. Providence is the three-time defending Class 4A champ and entered the game winning 23 straight postseason games despite never being able to win a CCL Blue title.

Stagg was the first area team to get a shot at the Celtics in the Andrew Regional semifinals on Thursday and carried a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning. But the Celtics scored runs in the sixth and seventh to stun the Chargers.

“That’s what they do,” Chargers coach Matt O’Neill said.