CRESTWOOD | Marian Catholic baseball coach Phil Wail said his team had been hitting the ball hard all day against De La Salle on Saturday.
In the Spartans' final at-bats, that contact added up to something big.
Marian Catholic scored eight times in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally for a 14-10 win against De La Salle in the first game of a seven-game South Side Conference Challenge at Standard Bank Stadium.
The Spartans' eight runs off six hits came against reliever Pat Haynes, who had just replaced De La Salle starter Anthony Shimkus.
"(Friday), we faced a kid straight over the top, same speed, same everything," said Marian Catholic's Brett Lilek of the matchup against the reliever. "So we were all geared up and ready for him."
Lilek, who finished with five RBIs, ripped a double with the bases loaded in the sixth inning to close the late Marian Catholic deficit to 10-9. A single by teammate Jeffrey Leppellere tied the game and a bases-clearing double by Robert Cifelli gave the Spartans a four-run lead.
Lilek pitched the seventh inning and Spartans relief pitcher Benjamin Santori was credited the win.
"At any level of baseball, the more runners you can get on in baseball, especially at the top of the order, the harder it is for a pitcher to concentrate," Wail said of Cifelli, who had two hits and four RBIs. "If he is not on base by hitting the ball, he is on base by walks, just stealing bags and being a menace out there."
De La Salle (7-1) held a 7-3 lead in the top of the fourth inning, due in part to a pair of two-RBI hits by Meteors cleanup hitter Mark Munizzi. The teams exchanged three-run innings before Times No. 2 Marian Catholic (9-2) put their first eight runners on base in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Byron Munoz and Jacob Lorenz each had three hits for the Spartans Saturday, including a successful suicide squeeze bunt by Munoz in the fourth inning and a bunt-single by Lorenz in the sixth inning that loaded the bases and set the table for Cifelli's double.
"My hats off to them," De La Salle coach Nick Bridich said. "We were up most of the game and put up some crooked number to get separation from them, but what a great job by those guys to battle it out and put up a huge inning like they did."