Baseball: Marmion defeats DeKalb, claims regional crownMarmion Academy's Mitch Stern turns the double play for the Cadets during the regional final against Dekalb on Saturday, May 26, 2012. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
If the art of the bunt is a thing of the past, Marmion never received the memo.
The Cadets used four bunt singles to key a four-run fourth inning Saturday and went on to defeat DeKalb, 4-1, in the championship game of the Class 3A Kaneland Regional.
On a day when a strong wind screamed in the faces of the hitters, small ball was the only choice and the Cadets (22-10) played it to perfection.
“We knew we’d have to probably lay down a couple bunts,” Marmion coach Dave Rakow said. “I give the kids credit. When they were called upon to lay down bunts they put them in perfect places.”
Marmion trailed 1-0 when Kevin Medernach opened the fourth with a sharp infield single off the pitcher’s mound. Rakow then went to the bunt and Peter Bowe and Andy Young dropped down seeing-eye bunts that loaded the bases.
Brady Roberts drove in the tying run when he sent a fly ball to center field and Connor Riley gave Marmion a 2-1 lead with a bases-loaded infield single that scored Bowe.
Yet the Cadets weren’t done. Mitch Sterne singled to right to plate Young and a squeeze bunt single by A.J. Friedman scored Riley with the fourth run.
The Cadets then let pitchers Shane Cano and Chris Simon sew up the championship and a trip to the Sycamore Sectional Wednesday.
Cano pitched the first five innings, allowing only an unearned run in the third, and Simon retired the final six Barbs, three on strikeouts and three on fine plays by second baseman Sterne.
“Shane really put the team on his shoulders those first two innings and battled through it and Chris came in and shut the door at the end,” Rakow said. “Mitch was definitely the player of the game. He had two or three web gems out there.”
DeKalb (18-16-1) had its chances and may have lost the game in the top of the fifth inning when the Barbs placed runners at first and third with nobody out.
Then Danny Petras hit a ground ball to Sterne who forced a sliding Jared Johnson at second. Johnson was called for interference for a double play to effectively end the threat.
Even so, the day belonged to the Cadets and the bunting game they turned into a championship.
“We work on bunts all the time,” Rakow said. “Especially this year we knew we’d probably have to bunt more than usual. In a regional championship like this it takes some calm nerves to go out there and put the bunt down. I love small ball.”
Especially when you’re on the winning end.