CHICAGO | T.J. Laurisch did a little extra work before his morning baseball game and it paid off.
The Mount Carmel junior pitcher said he went over each hitter in the box score from Thursday's 12-2 loss to St. Laurence. He then went out and tossed a five-hit shutout to lead Times No. 1 Mount Carmel to a 2-0 Catholic League Blue win over the Vikings on Saturday.
"I saw how they hit Johnny (Kravetz) pretty hard and I just knew I had to keep the ball down and stay ahead in the count," Laurisch said. "I got up on a few hitters so that paid off for us."
Laurisch (3-0) pitched out of a few jams, including one in the seventh. With runners on first and third and one out, he struck out the next two hitters to end the game.
"I was a little nervous because I know what a good hitting team they are," Laurisch said. "I knew I was getting the corners, so I kept trying to paint the corners. I was just hoping to get them to hit ground balls because I knew I got a good defense behind me."
With the win, and with Loyola and Providence losing, Mount Carmel (19-2, 7-1) moved to the top of the Catholic League Blue.
"This was a big win for us because we were able to bounce right back against a team that beat us," Laurisch said. "We played good team ball today."
That was evident in the bottom of the sixth when pinch-hitter Frank Kelly's sacrifice bunt set up the Caravan's two runs. Jerry Houston led off with a single and Jeff Boehm reached on an error. Kelly moved them to second and third respectively. One out later, Tom Hayes hit a grounder to third, but an errant throw brought home two runs.
"I just put that bunt down because I needed to get those guys over in scoring position," Kelly said. "I worked all winter on my bunting and I knew in a close game like this, it might be the difference.
"We are taught team ball, sacrifice yourself for the good of the team."