CHICAGO | Leaving too many runners stranded on base is an unaffordable luxury when facing the Providence baseball team.
In the waning hour of daylight Tuesday, Providence's Branden Boggetto lined a two-run home run to left field in the top of the ninth inning to lift the visiting Celtics to a 7-5 Chicago Catholic League Blue victory against Times No. 1 Mount Carmel.
The victory was the second in four days for the Celtics (21-7, 10-2) over the Caravan (23-4, 8-4). The Times' top-ranked team has now lost four of its last five games after winning its first 22 games of the season.
"Both teams competed hard, and they are two very good teams," Caravan coach Brian Hurry said. "We competed our butts off, but just came up a little short."
The Caravan led 4-1 after four innings, but could not sustain the advantage, in part because of the lack of a big inning. The Caravan stranded 14 runners Tuesday and left the bases loaded in the second, sixth and eighth innings.
The Caravan were a strike away from losing in seven innings when third baseman Josh Gaal drove a single inside the third base bag that scored losing pitcher Joe Kennedy and tied the game at 5. Gaal finished the game with three hits.
The Caravan got three successive walks off Celtics winning pitcher Christian Ochoa with two outs in the eighth inning, but Ochoa got pinch hitter Justin Gonzalez to ground out to force a ninth inning.
Kennedy, who gave up one hit in the top of the eighth inning, surrendered the game-winning home run with one out. The homer by Boggoetto was the third of the game for the Celtics, who earlier had fence-clearing solo shots to center field from Sam Tidaback and Zak Kutsulis.
The Caravan, in contrast, were lacking the long ball Tuesday. T.J. Laurisch had two doubles and robbed the Celtics of another home run with a catch in center field in the second inning. Brent Novosel scored off a double he hit in the first inning, and Beau Filkins scored off his double in the fourth inning, courtesy of one of Laurisch's hits.