Baseball: Austin Mastela’s catch keys Lockport win over Joliet CatholicJoliet Catholic Academy's Cal Placher (8) pitches against Lockport, at Friday night's game between Lockport and Joliet Catholic Academy. | Paul James Bergstrom ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 20, 2012 10:34PM
Austin Mastela has struggled at the plate, but the Lockport senior right fielder has not let it affect his glove work.
On a cold, windy Friday night at Ed Flink Field with the score at 1 in the top of the fifth inning, Joliet Catholic cleanup hitter Nate Searing lined a shot toward the right-field corner with two outs and two runners on. Mastela stayed with the ball and made a highlight-reel, diving catch, saving two runs.
Lockport scratched out runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth, and right-hander Evan Matens (3-2) finished a complete game when he struck out red-hot Chris Tschida on a 3-and-2 breaking ball with the tying runs aboard in the seventh of the 3-1 victory.
“Austin’s play was a game-changer, and Evan has been winning some big games,” Lockport coach Andy Satunas said.
“I knew he (Searing) hit it away from me,” Mastela said. “I read away. It drifted and I went with it. I thought I was going to get it. You have to think that way.”
Ryan Peter’s double barely eluded Mastela’s glove with two outs in the seventh and Zach Melone walked to bring up Tschida, a .550 hitter (22-for-40) who was 2-for-2 with an intentional walk.
“That was his (Martens’) last hitter,” Satunas said. “We thought with his breaking pitch he had the best chance to get (Tschida). That kid is some player. He’s fun to watch.”
Right-hander Cal Placher (2-2) pitched five solid innings for Joliet Catholic (12-4-1), which lost for the first time in 10 games.
“Their pitcher did a great job, and they did a nice job defensively,” Hilltoppers coach Jared Voss said. “Nate (Searing) got robbed twice.
“Placher did a great job, too.”
Derek Bangert, who is hitting above .500 for Lockport (11-7), went 2-for-3 and drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth.