Disabato: Swami makes his playoff baseball picks032509/ studio
Pat Disabato sports writer southtownstar ( photo by Carol Dorsett)
No one has more ace caliber pitchers than St. Laurence, with Nick Altobella, Kevin Smith, Zach Lewis, Declan McCarron and Mike Kornacker.
Updated: May 23, 2012 9:26PM
Didn’t the high school baseball season just begin?
Wasn’t it a just the other day the SouthtownStar bestowed its preseason No. 1 honor on St. Laurence?
No other season travels at warp speed like prep baseball.
The postseason has started, and unlike recent years, there really isn’t a prohibitive local favorite in Class 3A and 4A to advance to lovely Silver Cross Field in Joliet on June 8.
Thus, the Swami had his work cut out when making playoff predictions.
The Swami — that would be yours truly for those new to the scene — has a history of making deftly accurate predictions. He called Sandburg’s 2002 Class AA state title and Lockport’s in 2005.
More recent, the Swami predicted St. Rita’s two-year finals run in 2010 and ’11 and Providence’s advancement last season.
Can he make it four in a row?
Let’s find out.
In Class 3A, all local teams are competing in the Lincoln-Way West Sectional. Oak Forest is the No. 1 seed and boasts the top pitcher in the area in flame-thrower Kyle Funkhouser. The Bengals will get through the regional and eventually upend underachieving Marian Catholic in the sectional semifinals.
However, Oak Forest’s party will come to an end in the sectional final, where Lemont, with a wealth of pitching and speed on the bases, prevails behind Tyler Jay, Jeff Worsech and Mike Papierski.
The Indians then will take down Harlan, the winner of the Washington Sectional, in the Crestwood Supersectional and advance to the state finals.
Lemont will earn a third-place finish at state.
In 4A, there are at least a half-dozen teams capable of advancing to Joliet. Let the fun begin.
St. Laurence will win the Fenwick Regional and knock off Reavis Regional champ Lyons in the St. Ignatius Sectional semis. Who will oppose the Vikings in the sectional championship? Let’s find out.
Mount Carmel barely will avoid Oak Lawn’s upset bid in its own regional final. Ditto for St. Rita, which will scrape past a Garrett O’Neill-led Brother Rice team in the St. Rita Regional final.
That will set up a St. Rita-Mount Carmel match-up in the other St. Ignatius Sectional. The Mustangs have two senior thumpers in Zach Soria and Stefano Belmonte, but the Caravan is more potent 1 through 9. Mount Carmel advances to meet St. Laurence.
The Vikings and Caravan split their Catholic League series. It’s said that pitching and defense win championships. No one has more ace caliber pitchers than St. Laurence, with Nick Altobella, Kevin Smith, Zach Lewis, Declan McCarron and Mike Kornacker. But the name of the game still is to score more runs than your opponent, and the Vikings offense has been hit or miss. Mount Carmel, behind Jerry Houston, Sam Kint and Tyler Laurisch, wins the sectional.
The Andrew Sectional is just as competitive. How’s this for regional final match-ups: Providence vs. Lincoln-Way Central, Marist vs. Andrew, Lincoln-Way North vs. Lockport, and Sandburg vs. Homewood-Flossmoor. Not a gimme in the bunch.
The Swami sees Andrew edging Marist, Lincoln-Way North topping Lockport, Providence nipping Central and H-F, behind lefty hurler Danny Lietz and a supportive home crowd, snapping Sandburg’s streak of consecutive regional championships at 11.
Lincoln-Way North, behind Ryan Pellack, Corey Krupske and Alex Neufeld, will take down H-F in the Andrew Sectional semi.
In the other semifinal, Providence sneaks past Andrew. That’s where the party ends for the Celtics. North, behind stud hurler Mike Miller, bests No. 1 Providence in the sectional championship.
Mount Carmel and North will square off in the Crestwood Supersectional. It will be a classic, A late-inning homer by Jack Troike and a dazzling catch by Krupske in center field, however, lead the Phoenix to the Final Four.
North will have to settle for runner-up honors in 4A.