JOLIET | Mount Carmel had played 41 baseball games entering its Class 4A state semifinal contest Friday against Lyons Twp., and each time the Caravan had tallied at least a pair of runs.
That streak came to an end at Silver Cross Field, and so, too, did the Caravan's title dreams.
The Lions got all the runs they would ultimately need when their first two batters reached base and eventually scored in the first inning. They tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the sixth to topple the Caravan 4-1.
Lyons (36-4) will face Providence Catholic, a 9-1 winner over Prospect in the first semifinal, at 5 p.m. today for the championship. Mount Carmel (32-8-1) will take on the Knights at 3 p.m. today in the third-place contest.
"Our guys played hard, like they do all the time and like they've done all year," Caravan coach Brian Hurry said. "These two guys sitting with me (seniors John Kravetz and Jeff Boehm) and their teammates gave their coaches and their teammates everything they had."
Though their bats were held in check, the Caravan were hardly dominated. At least one Mount Carmel hitter reached base in each inning, but the Caravan stranded a total of 10 runners against Lions pitcher Zach Remijas (11-0)
"He's a good pitcher," Hurry said. "He can throw more than one pitch for a strike.
"He did a good job of pitching out of some jams. We had guys on base numerous times. I'm not his coach, but he seems like a kid that's got a lot of guts."
Boehm was similarly impressed.
"He hit his spots very well," the Kentucky-bound senior said of Remijas. "His curveball had good break on it. If you were looking for it, he'd beat you with his fastball. If you were looking for his fastball, he beat you with his curveball."
Despite being off-balance most of the evening, the Caravan still hit the ball hard. Two threats ended on hard line drives hit right at Lions infielders.
"I thought we had a chance to come back," Boehm said. "We didn't take care of opportunities when he made mistakes over the middle."
Only a two-out, seventh-inning single by junior Sam Kint off Lyons reliever Keith Lehmann that drove in Chris Sujka kept the Caravan from being shut out.
Kravetz got the start for Mount Carmel and pitched well enough to win, allowing just three unearned runs and surrendering no walks.
Lyons' Spencer Mahoney and Steve Heilenback opened the bottom of the first with a single and double, respectively, and both came around to score, staking their team to an early lead. Kravetz recovered, though, by throwing four scoreless inning before surrendering two runs in the sixth.
"I really didn't feel that great today," Kravetz said. "I was just trying to throw strikes and pitch to contact, (but) I just left a few pitches over the middle that they hit hard. In a game like this, that's the difference."