Baseball: Marist downs Lincoln-Way North, Lyons awaitsThe Marist players are all smiles after their sectional victory. Allen Cunningham~for Sun-Times Media.
Updated: June 2, 2012 5:34PM
Every coach’s goal is to have his team playing its best come the playoffs.
Few, however, can execute that lofty goal.
Count Marist coach Tom Fabrizio among the handful that’s accomplished it during an unpredictable postseason.
The RedHawks produced a picture-perfect performance Saturday to down No. 2 seed Lincoln-Way North 5-1 to win the Class 4A Andrew Sectional.
No. 4 seed Marist (29-11), which has outscored its four playoff opponents 40-8, advances to play defending state champion Lyons at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Crestwood Supersectional.
Lyons (25-12-1) was a 9-1 winner over Mount Carmel at the Mount Carmel Sectional.
“The kids have been battling extra hard the past two weeks,” Fabrizio said. “We’ve been telling them to play hard for seven innings, no matter what the score, and good things will happen.”
Strong pitching, timely hitting and solid defense again was the ideal recipe for Marist.
John McKevitt and Jack Gainer (2-for-3) produced clutch two-out hits that resulted in four runs.
McKevitt’s two-run double in the first off North ace Mike Miller (9-1) staked the RedHawks to a 2-0 lead.
“I thrive off those situations” McKevitt said of his two-out hit. “It’s my favorite position to be in.”
Gainer’s two-run single in the sixth extended Marist’s lead to 4-1.
“I went up there looking for a good pitch and I got it and took a hack at it,” Gainer said of his first-pitch single that plated two runs. “He was hanging breaking balls to me all game. I got one and hit it.”
Mike Hearne’s squeeze bunt — on a 2-and-2 count — scored Cody Bohanek (3-for-4), who had tripled, to make it 5-1.
Bohanek earned the save, producing 22/3 innings of scoreless relief for starter Ryan Meyer.
Meyer allowed four hits and one run — an RBI single by Jack Troike (2-for-3) in the fourth — and struck out one.
The Phoenix (33-6) loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth, trailing 2-1. Senior Dominic Hartman, who had produced 10 hits in his last 11 at bats, strolled to the plate.
The lefty-swinging Hartman worked the count to 3-and-2 against Bohanek before grounding out to end the threat.
“Dominic was the guy we wanted up in that situation,” North coach Joe Skarbek said. “The law of averages catches up to you. You can’t be Superman all the time.”