Baseball: Ryan Koziol’s blast, Sam Tidaback’s throw help Providence top Mount CarmelProvidence Catholic starting and winning pitcher #8 David Hearne vs Mount Carmel held at home and Providence won 6-4 on Saturday, May 5, 2012. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 5, 2012 6:05PM
Mount Carmel coach Brian Hurry believed the No. 1 Caravan’s best chance in Saturday’s showdown at Providence was to get the potential tying run into scoring position.
So with two runners on and two outs in the top of the seventh inning and his team trailing 6-4, Hurry called for a double steal. Providence senior catcher Sam Tidaback met the challenge, however, gunning down courtesy runner Frank Kelly with a perfect strike to third base to end the battle between Catholic Blue heavyweights.
“It was surprising they tried it, but they’re a good, aggressive team,” said Tidaback, who also had two of the Celtics’ five hits. “They were aggressive all day. You can’t be caught off guard against them.”
“I’d do the same thing every time,” Hurry said.
No. 4 Providence (21-6, 11-2) scored five second-inning runs off starter and loser Tyler Laurisch on Kevin Tully’s two-run single and Ryan Koziol’s three-run home run on an 0-2 fastball. Chris Salazar chipped in a sacrifice fly in the fourth to stretch the lead to 6-1, but otherwise, the Celtics did little offensively.
“Laurisch is a good pitcher,” Koziol said. “I was looking for a fastball and he missed his spot. The first time I got a hit (single in the first) on a curveball. ”
“Ryan’s homer was huge,” Providence coach Mark Smith said. “That gave us a cushion. We gave a little back, but our pitchers competed and we held on.”
Celtics starter David Hearne (4-1) went four innings and then left the mound after feeling a little tightness. Jake Godfrey, Cristian Ochoa and Zak Kutsulis followed. There were bumps in the road, but a rock-solid defense helped bail them out. Tidaback’s throw, first baseman Kutsulis’ unassisted double play on Justin Gonzalez’s line shot to end the second inning and second baseman Koziol’s play in the hole and toss to Ocha covering to end the sixth were huge.
Mount Carmel (24-3, 10-3), which has lost three of its last four in the Catholic Blue entering Monday’s home game against Providence, had nine hits, including Sam Kint’s solo homer, and left 12 runners, including the bases loaded twice. The Celtics stranded two.
“It’s a little hard to come out on the short end of this one,” Hurry said. “We put a lot of guys on and hit the ball hard. Justin’s (Gonzalez’s) line drive (for the double play) could have broken it open early.”
“We played very good defense and did a good job playing situational baseball,” Smith said. “I’m pleased. This keeps us in the conference race going up there Monday. I’ll take a win against Mount Carmel any time.”