The Fenwick baseball team’s first major challenge of the Class 4A playoffs will arrive quickly. The Friars are likely to take on No. 1 seed and Top 10-ranked St. Rita in the St. Rita Regional Championship on Saturday (11 a.m.).
The game will mark the second time the two Catholic League teams have met this season. Back on April 20, the Friars fell 7-5 to the Mustangs (24-6). “I’d like to play that game again,” said Fenwick head coach Dave Hogan at the time.
Hogan will get that opportunity if all goes well for the Friars (18-12) in their opening round match-up likely against Young on Thursday (May 26, 4:30 p.m.).
After a rocky start that saw Fenwick lose five games in a row during a rainy April, the Friars, the sixth seed in the Mt. Carmel Sectional, have found their stride. The team has gone 13-4 since that slide.
Tyler Sewall has been Fenwick’s workhorse on the mound. The senior entered the playoffs 5-5 with an ERA of 2.62 in 59 innings. He leads the rotation in strikeouts with 47. Two weeks ago, the senior tossed nine innings of shutout ball in Fenwick’s 1-0 win over St. Ignatius.
With Sewall, John McGann (4-2, 4.92 ERA) and John Patzelt, the Friars have enough firepower on the mound.
Quinn Collins and Ryan Fitzgerald have been Fenwick’s battering rams this season. Collins entered the week batting .453 with a team-leading 22 RBIs in 95 at bats. Fitzgerald was batting .385 in 104 at bats.
The Friars suffered a 4-2 loss to Nazareth and an 8-3 loss to Oak Lawn last week to close out the regular season. The team enters the playoffs with an overall record of 18-14.
Sewall, Nick Johnson and Fitzgerald all had homers in Fenwick’s 7-3 win over Montini last week. Fitzgerald, who blasted his third homer on the season in the top of the sixth, finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs. John Buchta yielded three runs on five hits in 5.2 innings. He struck out five and walked two.
The Friars began last week by toppling Guerin 10-0 in five innings. In his varsity debut on the mound, Aidan Verbeke tossed a two-hitter, while fanning six.