Nazareth's Ryan Smith (21) hits the ball on May 20, during a varsity baseball game against Fenwick. (Alex Rogals/Staff Photographer)

Nazareth Academy’s baseball team went into its IHSA Class 3A regional final game a heavy favorite over 10th-seeded Kenwood on June 7. But, the No. 2-seeded Roadrunners (26-10) rallied after an early scare to win 6-3 and advance to the sectional semifinal round against Lemont on June 9 at 4:30 p.m. at home in LaGrange Park.

Trailing 2-0 entering the bottom of the first inning, Ryan Smith fueled Nazareth’s comeback with a solo home run to center. In the third inning, the Roadrunners’ first three hitters all walked, then Sebastián Gutierrez and Justin Gutierrez delivered RBI singles to give Nazareth a 3-2 lead.

The Roadrunners then opened some breathing room with a three-run fourth inning, taking advantage of sloppy defense by the Broncos. Cooper Malamazian’s leadoff single was followed by Bobby Kutt getting hit by a pitch. A balk advanced both runners, then Lucas Smith’s sacrifice fly brought in Malamazian.

After Ryan Smith walked, Nazareth pulled off a double steal to score again, and Smith advanced to third on an error by the Kenwood catcher. After Sebastián Gutierrez got hit by a pitch, Smith came in on another balk.

The Broncos rallied in the seventh inning, scoring on a RBI single and bringing the tying run to the plate with one out. But Nazareth pitcher Luke Brabham got a strikeout and a flyout to end the game.

Brabham got credited with the victory, pitching five innings and allowing one run and seven hits. 

Ryan Smith scored three runs and Sebastián Gutierrez had two hits for the Roadrunners.

Benet ends RBHS season in regional finals

RB’s Jeremy Fox (3) pitches on Thursday, June 4, 2021, during a varsity baseball game at Elhert Park in Brookfield, Ill. | ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer

On June 7 in their IHSA Class 3A regional title game at Benet Academy in Lisle, Riverside-Brookfield High School’s Owen Murphy slugged a solo home run in the top of the fourth to break a scoreless tie.

Unfortunately, that was to be the Bulldogs’ only run of the day as the team managed just four hits during a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the host Redwings.

Murphy also started on the mound and pitched well for RBHS. In six innings, he didn’t issue any walks and allowed only three hits while striking out nine.

But the Bulldogs (19-5) committed three errors, two of which came in a decisive three-run fifth inning. Benet’s Stephen Dabrowski led off by reaching on an error by RBHS’ third baseman Henry Rausch. 

Then Pierce Salbego reached on a fielder’s choice that resulted in no outs. After Murphy got the next two batters out, Ryan Radek came up with the game’s biggest hit, a two-run triple to right. Radek would then score when RBHS’ Rex Dockendorf made an error, making it 4-1 Redwings.

The Bulldogs attempted to rally in the seventh. Brian Twomey was hit by a pitch to lead off, then Sean McDermott drew a walk. After Jeremy Fox popped up for the first out, Charlie Buh singled to load the bases. But McDermott got picked off second, and Nic Novak struck out to end the game.

In the postseason opener on June 4, RBHS trounced visiting Lindblom 19-0 in five innings June 4.

Fox and Jax Giampietro combined for a two-hit shutout with Fox getting credit for the victory.

Murphy had a huge day for RBHS, smashing two home runs and driving in six runs. Fox and Andrew Kallas each had three RBI and Rausch three hits for the Bulldogs.

LTHS comes up short against Oak Lawn

The Lyons Township High School baseball team’s season came to an end June 4 with a 4-2 loss to visiting Oak Lawn in a regional semifinal in IHSA Class 4A Sectional 5. LTHS finished the season with a 15-11 record.

“We couldn’t get the big hit, and [Oak Lawn] did. That’s what it came down to,” said LTHS coach Kevin Diete.

Jack McNamara and Noah Jouras each had .329 batting averages, the best among those who were in the Lions’ lineup regularly. Cooper Ohlson led the team in both home runs (4) and RBI (23).

Luke Stockbridge was LTHS’ workhorse on the mound, going 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 31 innings pitched.