PREP BASEBALL

Marian Catholic baseball team wins Class 3A state title

2012-06-09T19:00:00Z 2013-12-28T19:47:56Z Marian Catholic baseball team wins Class 3A state titleBy Mike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232` nwitimes.com

JOLIET | Marian Catholic is standing proud atop the Illinois prep baseball world.

Then they piled upon one another in celebration.

The Spartans beat LaSalle-Peru 10-2 Saturday before 2,117 fans at Silver Cross Field to win the Class 3A state title.

It is the first state title for the program and second school team title overall. The football team won the 1993 Class 4A crown.

The Spartans won with timely hitting, good pitching and good defense. Ben Santori won his second game in a week as he struck out five and walked none. He gave up 11 hits, including a sixth-inning solo homer.

"I just tried to mix it up, nothing fancy," Santori said. "I tried to keep them off-balance and throw strikes. I know my fielders would back me up."

Marian (25-17) won its eighth straight and put together an unbelievable run after struggling near .500 from the middle of the season on.

Marian, which will move to Class 4A next season as per the IHSA's multiplier rule, scored eight unearned runs in the third to take a commanding 9-1 lead.

First baseman Brett Lilek recorded the third and final out. Santori said he tried to run away from the celebration.

"I told everybody before the last inning not to dogpile me," he said. "I said, 'Go get the catcher (Brent Feldner)' so I was trying to jump over the fence. I just about made it."

Just four of Marian's runs were earned as it took advantage of four L-P errors. Robby Cifelli and Pat Swanson, the No. 1 and 2 hitters, had two hits and scored two runs each. Lilek, the No. 5 hitter, had two hits and two RBIs. Cifelli scored Marian's first run as he reached on an infield hit, stole second and came home on Swanson's single.

"We just wanted to make something happen," Cifelli said. "Coach (Phil Wail) came up to me before the game and set it was up to the seniors to set the tone. I took that to heart.

"Right now, I can't explain the feeling -- it is a dream come true for anyone who plays baseball."

In the third, Feldner reached on an error and Luiscarlo Avila sacrificed him to second. Cifelli singled in courtesy runner Eric Hurley, then took second on the throw home. Swanson walked. One out later, a throwing error on a Brad Bohlen grounder scored Cifelli. Lilek doubled in Swanson and Bohlen to make it 6-1.

Marian added an unearned run in the fourth to close out its scoring. The Cavaliers (34-7) scored in the first and were blanked until Casey Huebbe's one-out solo homer in the sixth.

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