LOCKPORT – The Joliet Catholic baseball team has spent most of the summer using the committee approach to pitching, and it keeps on ticking.
Four Hilltoppers combined on a three-hitter Wednesday afternoon for a 4-0 victory over Plainfield South in the semifinals of the Lockport Regional in the Phil Lawler Classic summer tournament.
"Just how we drew it up," JCA coach Jared Voss said with a smile. "All four guys are seniors, and they pitched to contact."
Dan Belling, Connor Brandon and Alex Ragusa worked two innings each and had a one-hitter going through six innings. Mike Quiram finished up.
"I was going to finish," senior center fielder Keegan Tyrell said, "but I didn't have time to warm up in the bullpen."
No matter. Tyrell, who made an excellent catch in the second inning, logged significant mileage chasing down long flyballs to end the sixth and seventh innings.
"We thought maybe (Nick) Dalesandro would throw for them, and then when he didn't, we weren't in the right mindset," South coach Phil Bodine said. "We could have done stuff against what I thought were handle-able pitchers and we didn't do it. We weren't aggressive enough."
Instead, Dalesandro may pitch Thursday night's regional final against the Lockport-Sandburg winner. It depends on his body. He was hit and bruised by a couple of foul balls when he caught Drake Fellows in Monday's 1-0 shutout of Lincoln-Way North.
The Hilltoppers (14-0) have allowed one unearned run in three regional games. With that sort of pitching and defense, not many runs are needed. Mitch Boe, Tyrell, Dalesandro and Fellows, the top four in Voss' lineup, created more than enough Thursday.
Boe doubled to start the game against Easton Frisby, moved up on a passed ball and scored on Tyrell's sacrifice fly.
Boe walked in the third, stole second and scored when Tyrell's sacrifice bunt was thrown away. Tyrell wound up on second and scored on Dalesandro's single to make it 3-0. In the fourth Dalesandro walked and scored on Fellows' double.
"That's my role, to move Mitch over," Tyrell said. "You put the bunt play on and make them field the ball, and you never know what might happen.
"With the guys we have at the top of the lineup, we absolutely have the chance to score some runs next season."
Fellows, the staff ace along with Dalesandro, had two of JCA's seven hits.
"I enjoy hitting," he said. "I'm seeing the ball well. I look forward to contributing to the team that way next season."
South (14-8) reached the semifinals with a 2-1 win over highly regard Champaign Central and an 8-0 win over Plainfield Central. Mike Ritter shut down Champaign, striking out 12, and Matt Taller got the victory against Plainfield Central.
"We've been playing well," Bodine said. "Our mindset in this game just wasn't good."