Baseball: Jake Bartels, Nazareth edge Benet
Updated: April 25, 2012 9:00PM
Spending much of the season hovering near or around the .500 mark, Benet has shown on multiple occasions a penchant for being able to compete with high-level competition.
However, being able to compete with quality competition and being able to close out quality competition are two different lessons, the latter of which Benet is becoming painfully all too familiar with.
Despite having junior right-hander Pat McInerney toss a five-hit complete game, his counterpart on the mound, Nazareth sophomore right-hander Jake Bartels, was a bit better in helping lead the Roadrunners to a 2-1 victory Wednesday in Lisle.
Limiting the Redwings to just one run, scored on a sacrifice fly from Billy Tumpane in the bottom of the first, Bartels kept the Redwings off balance.
“I think the big thing was in the first inning, I was kind of struggling getting my changeup over the plate and then I was starting to be able to throw my off-speeds for a strike,” he said. “And I think that was huge, not having to rely on my fastball and being able to know that my curve and changeup can go to the plate. I think that’s where I kept them off-balance.”
Bartels (4-0) went 5 1/3 innings and scattered four hits and struck out three before giving way to senior lefty Dominic Purpura in the sixth inning.
After picking up Bartels by recording back-to-back outs in the sixth, Purpura got himself into trouble by allowing two runners to get on base in the bottom of the seventh.
Inducing Benet sophomore Joe Boyle to end the game by hitting into a 4-6-3 double play, Purpura earned a save and preserved the victory for Bartels and the Roadrunners (19-2, 3-1 East Suburban Catholic).
“We’ve had confidence in Dom the whole year. I know he’s a phenomenal pitcher,” Bartels said. “I mean he has come in games throughout the whole season up until now and saved some big games for us. Even from last year, coming in the (Class 3A North Central College) supersectional game (against St. Francis) and throwing four scoreless innings and really helping us big time.
“We have a lot of faith in him and we know when he comes into the game, he’s gonna get the outs for us.”
With eight days remaining until the IHSA releases the seeds for Class 4A, Wednesday’s one-run loss to Nazareth just represents another close call for Benet (10-9, 2-2 East Suburban Catholic).
On the year, the Redwings have lost seven games by one run, a ledger that includes a pair of one-run losses at the respective hands of the top two teams in the state, No. 2 St. Laurence and No. 1 Mount Carmel.
“Here’s the deal: we’re playing good baseball. We make a few mistakes here and there and when you’re playing really good teams like Naz or Mount Carmel and St. Laurence, those small plays are big deals,” Benet coach Scott Lawler said. “And we catch a few baseballs out in the outfield, then the score might have been different and you never know. I don’t pinpoint losses on people because those kids are giving an effort.”
An error from Boyle in left field in the first allowed Nazareth to get on the scoreboard and Roadrunners’ junior catcher Mike Stromberg nailed Benet runners at third to cut down rallies in both the fourth and the fifth.
Five days after picking up the loss against Mount Carmel, McInerney (0-2) allowed two runs on the five hits, while sophomore shortstop Chris Whelan went 3-for-3 for the Redwings.