By Marty Farmer
A second improbable comeback right out of a Hollywood script wasn't meant to be for the Nazareth Academy baseball team.
After rallying with seven runs in the seventh inning to stun Antioch 10-9 in a classic Class 3A supersectional, the Roadrunners lost convincingly to Morton 8-1 in the 3A state semifinals at Route 66 Stadium in Joliet.
After the game was delayed Friday morning due to rain, Nazareth and Morton finally played ball mid-afternoon.
Nazareth scored its lone run in the bottom of the fifth. After Morton took the lead 3-0 in its half of the inning, second baseman Dominic Milano hit a triple with two outs for the Roadrunners. Zach Carmignani doubled down the left field line, scoring Milano.
Leading 4-1, Morton put the game out of reach with four runs in the seventh.
The Roadrunners finished with just four hits for the game, while the Potters had 13 hits. Carmignani (2-for-2, RBI), Milano (1-for-4, run scored) and catcher Andrew McKenna (1-for-1) accounted for all of Nazareth's offense.
Conversely, The Potters had production throughout the lineup. Leadoff man Nick Guerra and No. 2 hitter Logan Peterson both went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while Kyle Killion (3-for-4, RBI), Evan Pfiefer (2-for-4) and Isaiah Gudeman (2-for-3) also contributed.
Morton starting pitcher Vinni Massaglia (6-0) scattered four hits and struck out 10 over six innings. Nazareth used its rotation liberally with five pitchers, including starter Michael Prosecky (4.2 innings pitched, 5 hits, 3 runs, 8 strikeouts) and top reliever Chance Roach (1.1 innings pitched, 4 hits, 4 runs/2 earned)
In the other semifinal, St. Ignatius edged Triad 3-2. Morton defeated St. Ignatius 4-1 to capture the 3A championship.
The Roadrunners bounced back from their loss to Morton by beating Triad 4-0 in the third-place game on Saturday. Nazareth scored four runs in the first with a pair of two-RBI doubles from Bobby Grimes and Cole Vercelli. That would serve as more than enough support for starting pitcher Julian Lopez, who finished 6-1 this spring.
Nazareth (24-14-1) had another excellent season under veteran coach Lee Milano. Over the past 13 years, the Roadrunners have won nine regional titles, six sectional championships and four top 4 finishes in the state playoffs under his guidance.
Through 37 games played this season, several players excelled for Nazareth. Dominic Milano hit .400 with 27 RBIs, while Carmignani batted .375 with 16 RBIs. Both players scored 32 runs. Ryan Turgeon hit .322 with a pair of home runs, six doubles and team-high 32 runs batted in. Lopez contributed a .354 batting average and 18 RBIs.