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Iniquez fires one more gem for Morton baseball

BERWYN – Morton's season on the diamond came to an end, but not before Anthony Iniquez fired another quality start on the mound.

Morton lost in a regional championship game against top sectional seed St. Rita, 10-0 in six innings on Saturday. The Mustangs previously got past St. Ignatius 5-2 in the semifinal on Thursday.

Against Ignatius, ace pitcher Iniquez had a strong start in his last time on the mound for Morton in the win. He struck out six and gave up just two runs in a complete game.

The Mustangs loaded the bases to start the game and Mike Kadela had an RBI groundout to get them on the board. Ignatius took a 2-1 lead in the second.

Kadela again had the answer for Morton in the fourth when he drove in Luis Rivera with a single to tie it. Later, the Mustangs took the lead in the sixth with RBI hits from Gabriel Orozco and Roger Blanco, and Iniquez closed it off with a 1-2-3 seventh.

Morton didn't have the same fortune in the final. Against St. Rita, the Mustangs managed just two hits. Rita scored one run in the second and seven more in the third to prevent the result from being in doubt for long.

Starting pitcher Luis Rivera was the victim of six Mustang errors.

"Obviously against Rita we didn't play clean baseball," coach Mike Casey said. "We had six errors. I thought Luis Rivera pitched well, we just didn't make the plays behind him."

A season that began with so much hope built around the returning pitching trio of Iniquez, Rivera and Sergio Villalobos ended with a 14-21 record, the most wins since 2010. Morton did improve in the West Suburban Gold by a game compared to last year, with a 9-9 mark in the conference and made a regional final for the second year in a row.

"I thought we would have won at least 20 games," Casey said. "We just didn't hit enough to do that. On the mound I thought our three guys that threw for us did phenomenal, which is Anthony Iniquez, Sergio Villalobos and Luis Rivera. Nick Campanile was great for us behind the plate."

Iniquez, Villalobos and catcher Nick Campanile will be key losses heading into next year. Orozco and Eduardo Garcia also started in the regionals as seniors. Meanwhile, four juniors, Rivera, Kadela, Blanco and David Fregoso, will bring starting postseason experience back to the squad.

"It's going to be a very young team next year," Casey said.

Casey talked up the freshmen class and said six of them went between the freshmen and sophomore teams.

"This summer is going to be huge to try and get some of those freshman ready to play varsity next year," Casey said. "This is the most games we're going to play this summer. We have 25 games in total."

Regional semifinal

Morton 5, St. Ignatius 2

• Anthony Iniquez: 7 IP, 2 R, 6 K, 1 BB, 2 H

• Luis Rivera: 2-for-2, R, BB

• Gabriel Orozco: 2-for-4, RBI, R

• David Fregoso: 2-for-4

• Mike Kadela: 1-for-4, 2 RBIs, 2 SB

Regional final

St. Rita 10, Morton 0

• Rivera: 1-for-3

• Iniquez: 1-for-2

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