Baseball: Oak Forest comeback shocks Mount Carmel

Story Image Jason Hine, of Oak Forest, looks to complete the double play against Mt. Carmel at the Richards regional summer tournament, Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 in Oak Lawn, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Story Image

Updated: July 17, 2012 7:31PM

Tom Livingston is heading into his third varsity season at Oak Forest, but this was a first.

The Bengals were no-hit through four innings Tuesday, managed just one hit through five and were down seven runs to Mount Carmel in the quarterfinals of the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association’s Richards Regional.

Then Oak Forest mounted a comeback the likes of which Livingston never has seen, scoring 10 times in the sixth. The Bengals lost the lead in the bottom of the seventh, but scratched out an unearned run in the eighth for an improbable 11-10 victory.

The Bengals will play Marist at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in a semifinal at Richards.

“We just started hitting the ball,” said Livingston, who jump-started the rally with a three-run homer to center. “(Mount Carmel starter Austin Dodson) made some mistakes, putting it down the middle. And we took advantage of it.”

“He’s a good leader,” Oak Forest coach Thad Gatton said of Livingston. “A quiet leader, he just does his job in and out of the season, in the weight room or whatever is asked.

“He’s a much better kid than a baseball player and that’s not in any way a negative thing.”

Oak Forest (9-3) didn’t get much help in its comeback. The big inning featured nine hits, one walk and one error.

Dodson, who struck out eight in the first four innings, gave up eight hits in the rally.

“I didn’t expect that,” Mount Carmel coach Brian Hurry said. “Dodson got a one-hitter going through five complete innings. I just left him in too long.”

That might not have happened had Dodson been wild.

“Since he was throwing strikes I figured they’d start hitting some balls at people,” Hurry said.

That didn’t happen. After Livingston’s homer cut the deficit to 7-3, Alex Muka (2-for-4, two doubles) slugged a two-run double and Joe Muller singled home a run to make it 7-6.

Dan Hlad (2-for-5, 2 runs) singled home the tying run, knocking out Dodson, and Muller scored on a wild pitch to make it 8-7. Mike Owens’ two-run single capped the outburst.

But the drama wasn’t over.

Beau Filkins’ three-run homer to left with one out in the bottom of the seventh pulled Mount Carmel (13-5) into a 10-all tie.

But the Bengals pushed across the game-winner in the eighth, when Kevin Johnson reached on an error, advanced on a passed ball and a sacrifice and scored on a wild pitch.

“Mount Carmel is a powerhouse every single year,” Gatton said. “For us to be able to play on the same field with them is an accomplishment, let alone to beat them.”

Justin Gonzalez went 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI for the Caravan.

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