CHICAGO | Ako Thomas might as well been wearing a boxing glove instead of a batting glove.
The junior second baseman lived up to his name, which is pronounced "Kayo" as he wasted no time in knocking down Oak Lawn with his bat instead of his fists. The Michigan recruit was 4-for-4 with three doubles and four RBIs as the Caravan cruised to a 13-0, five-inning win over Oak Lawn to win the Class 4A Mount Carmel Regional title Saturday morning at Haggerty Field.
Thomas hit the first pitch in the bottom of the first for a double, which opened the door for a six-run first inning.
"I am a first-pitch hitter," Thomas said. "I like to jump on the first pitch and drive it. As the leadoff guy, I have to get something going, get on base and start us up."
Mount Carmel (30-7) sent 11 men to the plate in the first and also batted around in a four-run fourth. Thomas doubled in the first and also in the third. He had an RBI single in the fourth and also scored twice.
"I knew I was going to have a good day at the plate," Thomas said. "I felt it in batting practice and I was just seeing the ball real well today. I think we all did."
The Caravan pounded out 15 hits and took advantage of three Oak Lawn errors. Nine different Mount Carmel players got hits. After the game, Mount Carmel players held up five fingers to signify the number of wins needed to repeat as state champs.
"We set high standards here," Caravan coach Brian Hurry said. "We won two (postseason games) and we have five left. It is not going to be easy."
Mount Carmel will face favored St. Laurence at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in one semifinal of the Reavis Sectional. The Vikings beat the Caravan both times the two faced each other. The sectional has the same teams as last year as St. Rita and Lyons Township are also in it.
Marko Boricich (7-1) cruised through four innings before giving way to Aaryn Chandler, who pitched a flawless fifth. Boricich struck out four and gave up two hits. He gave up two-out singles in both the first and third innings.
"That six-run lead really helped me on the mound," Boricich said. "Ako really had the hot bat today, he has for the last week. When he gets on, things happen."
Valparaiso University recruit Scott Kapers had two hits, including a double, while Nick Wheeler also doubled and scored twice.