Baseball: Dominic Purpura dazzles, Nazareth claims Class 3A third placeNazareth Academy players Kyle Piotrowski and Michael Kogut carry the IHSA 3A Third place trophy to the dugout. | John Patsch~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 9, 2012 5:07PM
After graduating its entire starting lineup from last season’s Class 3A fourth-place squad, many thought this would be a rebuilding year for the Nazareth. Remarkably, coach Lee Milano had his team full of sophomores and juniors back in Joliet competing for another state trophy.
One of the few seniors, left-hander Dominic Purpura, made sure Saturday that the Roadrunners would leave Silver Cross Field with a victory this time around. Purpura carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning as he completely handcuffed high-scoring Triad 2-1 in the Class 3A third-place game.
“Coming into this year we had no pressure,” said Purpura, who is signed with Carthage College. “Unlike last year when we had some pressure on us. … I couldn’t go 0-4 on this field.”
The 6-4, 205-pound Purpura (10-1) held a Triad (32-10) team that had averaged 11 runs a game in the playoffs to only two hits, both in the seventh inning. Purpura struck out four, walked four — two of which he summarily picked off — and had his no-hitter broken up when Triad catcher Dylan Johnson lined a single up the middle to lead off the inning.
“I give all the credit to our defense,” said Purpura, who coincidentally had his no-hit bid broken up in the seventh inning of the sectional semifinal win over Glenbard South. “Every single out is a credit to the defense.
“Usually it is a relief, but this time I was like ‘Oh crap.’ I just went back to plan one, which is to get outs.”
Senior designated hitter Ryan Marske staked Nazareth (31-10) to a 1-0 lead when he launched a home run to right field. The Roadrunners took a 2-0 lead in the third inning when slick-fielding sophomore shortstop
Tim DalPorto led off with a single, advanced to third on Marske’s bloop double, and scored on a wild pitch. Marske finished 2-for-3.
Triad scored its lone run on a bloop single over first base after the no-hitter was broken up. Purpura then got a fly out to left field to put the finishing touches on Nazareth’s surprising season.
“I don’t think many people thought we’d be sitting here again this weekend,” said Nazareth coach Lee Milano. “It’s a credit to these kids and their hard work.”