Baseball: Marist blasts Oak Forest; St Laurence tops St Rita in extrasMarist's Marty Mehalek is safe at second base at Oak Forest's Jim Blake misses the ball during the first inning of their summer league regional semifinal game at Richards High School in Oak Lawn Wednesday July 16, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 18, 2012 6:47PM
It was hard to tell what was hotter during the semifinals of the IHSBCA Richards Regional on Wednesday: the weather or the Marist offense.
Marist knocked around Oak Forest’s pitching staff on a hot and humid afternoon, blasting 12 runs on 18 hits, and not even an hour-long rain delay in the second inning could slow the RedHawks’ momentum in their 12-8 victory.
“We’ve been good offensively the whole summer, but we seemed to really put things together when the playoffs started,” Jack Gainer said. “They were throwing fastballs and we were putting good swings on good pitches.”
Gainer (2-for-3, three RBI) opened the scoring for Marist with a two-RBI single in the first inning. He came around to score on an RBI single from Josh Pfotenhauer (2-for-3) for a 4-0 advantage.
Marist coach Tom Fabrizio went to his bench after taking a 9-1 lead into the fifth frame, and the RedHawks didn’t seem to lose anything offensively. Six reserves registered hits after all nine starters reached base safely.
“It’s nice to see some other guys get in there and be aggressive,” Fabrizio said. “That was the key for us today, being aggressive against good pitches.”
Oak Forest (9-4) scored runs in each of the last four innings, capped by a Tom Zale three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh, but the Bengals couldn’t duplicate their comeback magic from Tuesday against Mount Carmel.
“This is my fourth year coaching at Oak Forest, and this is the fourth year we’ve made it to the final four of the regional,” coach Thad Gatton said. “Not only are we the only [Class] 3A school here, but we’re the only public school. Hopefully that says something about us.”
Marist (9-5-1) will meet St. Laurence, a 5-4 winner over St. Rita, at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday for the regional title.
* St. Laurence 5, St. Rita 4, eight innings
Kevin White notched a walkoff infield hit in the eighth inning to advance St. Laurence to the Richards Regional final. White tied the game at four in the sixth inning with an RBI sacrafice fly. Zach Lewis (two earned runs, seven strikeouts) went the distance for the Vikings and was 3-for-4 at the plate.
Chad Prieto went 2-for-4 with two RBI for St. Rita in a game that featured four lead changes.