Baseball: New-look Brother Rice knocks off Marian CatholicErik Callaghan, of Marian Catholic, runs down the infield hit against Brother Rice at Brother Rice, Monday, July 16th, 2012 in Chicago, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 19, 2012 7:05PM
It’s a new day for Brother Rice baseball, and, potentially, a bright one.
The revamped Crusaders opened the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association summer playoffs on an up note Monday afternoon, blanking defending Class 3A state champ Marian Catholic 4-0 in Richards Regional first-round play in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community.
Rising junior Ian McGinnis, projected to be Rice’s ace in the spring, pitched two-hit ball over six innings for the win. Two of his classmates, Kevin Biondic and Jake Barry, provided all the offense the lefty needed by hitting two-run homers to left.
“I felt pretty good,” said McGinnis, who struck out three and walked two. “I had great defense behind me, so all you have to do is hit your spots.”
It was a typical effort for McGinnis, according to Rice coach John McCarthy.
“He throws three different pitches for strikes, mixes speeds really well ... keeps the running game under control,” McCarthy said. “And he’s tough.”
McGinnis got a cushion in the bottom of the first on Barry’s homer, which came as a bit of a surprise to the Crusaders’ DH.
“I thought my bat broke, actually,” he said. “I went halfway down (to first) and I looked and it was still going. I thought, it’s probably out.”
It was, and just in case McGinnis needed any more help, Biondic provided it by hitting another two-run homer in the same general direction in the third inning.
McGinnis and Brendan McGinley, who worked a scoreless seventh, took care of the rest, sending the Crusaders (10-9-1) into a 3:30 p.m. Tuesday regional quarterfinal against the hosts at St. Laurence.
Marian (9-10) was missing five starters for various reasons, including the school’s football camp. But it still was a benchmark win in McGinnis’ mind.
“They’re always a good baseball school,” he said of the Spartans. “It was good to come out and compete with them to see what we’re made of.”
McGinnis doesn’t expect the Crusaders to get a lot of preseason attention in 2013.
“We’re definitely under the radar,” he said. “We lost 12 or 13 seniors. It’s all about the new guys. We’re coming in here, we’ve got nothing to lose so we’re just playing as hard as we can.”
Leadoff man Kevin Sullivan was 1-for-1 with two walks and two runs for Rice.
Starter Ryan Waaso took the loss for Marian, allowing six hits and four runs, walking two and striking out three in five innings.
“Two (home run) balls beat him,” Marian coach Phil Wail said.
In other action
Reavis eliminated Illiana Christian 5-4, advancing to meet St. Rita, a 7-2 winner over Oak Lawn, in a 1 p.m. Tuesday game at St. Laurence.
Richards, a 16-0 winner over Bremen, will host Marist, which beat Homewood-Flossmoor 11-5, at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. That game will be preceded by an 11 a.m. contest between Mount Carmel, a 7-4 winner over Shepard, and Oak Forest, which beat Stagg 8-3.