By Drake Skleba
For The Bugle
NAPERVILLE- St. Viator’s, University of Notre Dame-bound Cole Kmet, stepped into the batters box, in a scoreless, Class 3A North Central College Supersectional, in the top of the third inning.
The Lions, had two men on and two out. Kmet, launched a pitch from Benet Academy starting and losing pitcher, Steven Arrowsmith (3-2), into the stratosphere to right field.
Redwing right fielder Tom Snell, appeared to be getting ready to make the catch, when the howling 25-mile per hour wind, out of the northeast, blew the ball away from the befuddled Snell. Wind-blown two-out, two-run double for Kmet. 2-0 Lion lead.
Taking advantage of Mother Nature’s gift, St. Viator (23-15) scored six more times in the third inning, and went on to an easy 13-4 victory. The Lions, will join fellow East Suburban Catholic Conference member Marian Catholic (23-14) in the Class 3A Final 4, at Slammers Stadium, in Joliet, on Friday.
On Saturday, Benet Academy defeated Nazareth for the Class 3A Benedictine University Sectional crown. It was the third consecutive Redwings’ win over the Roadrunners, this spring.
After sweeping the Lions, in an ESCC doubleheader, 7-6 and 12-1, on April 15, the Redwings were hoping for a repeat performance, of Saturday’s sectional championship magic. The old baseball adage, that states it’s hard to beat a quality team three consecutive times in a season, rang true on a sunny, but windy, Monday evening in Naperville.
St. Viator opened up a 12-0 lead on the Redwings, with three runs in the top of the sixth.
Redwing senior Marty Dosen, ripped a Kmet fastball for a single scoring Tyler Bautista, who had also singled, for the first Redwing run, in the bottom of the sixth.. That ended the day for the future Fighting Irish southpaw, Kmet (7-3). CJ Birck, greeted Lion reliever, Bobby Perna, for another RBI single and the ‘Wings were within 12-2. Junior catcher Brandon Gorz’s second single of the game, drove home Birck and it was 12-3.
Kmet homered in the top of the seventh for St. Viator and Tyler Bautista, came through with a Redwing RBI single, to complete the game scoring.
“I am so proud of what we accomplished this season,” Benet Academy head coach Scott Lawler said. “Look around. The kids have smiles on their faces. They all realize how well they played this season.”
13 wins in 2016. 25 wins in 2017, as well as a Class 3A regional and sectional championship. The first sectional championship, for the Redwings since 1989.
Kudo’s go out to the huge swarm from Redwing Nation, that took over Zimmerman Field at North Central College. In the largest crowd ever to watch a high school baseball game at NCC, of the over-flow crowd, 90% was dressed in red.
“We had a great season”, Dosen said. “We won almost twice as many games, as we had all of last year. Winning the regional, sectional and advancing to the supersectional, was a great accomplishment for us. It hurts, though, to fall just one game, from State.”