CRESTWOOD | Mount Carmel's Austin Dodson didn't find out he would make his varsity debut until Thursday night.
The junior pitcher said he was a little nervous, but a shaky first inning in which Benet, from the East Suburban Catholic Conference, scored a run, didn't seem to bother him. In fact, he got stronger as the game wore on.
Dodson went 6 2/3 innings and did not allow a hit after the first inning as The Times No. 1 Caravan came back with two runs in the top of the sixth to beat Benet 2-1 on Friday at the South Side Conference Challenge at Standard Bank Stadium.
"I was a little shaky in the first, but I wasn't worried because I was throwing strikes and had good control. As the game went on, I got more confidence. They were trying to kill the ball and with the wind, I knew it wasn't going anywhere.
"I also knew my teammates had my back."
Both teams battled dropping temperatures and high winds.
T.J. Laurisch got the final out as Mount Carmel (20-0) had its second close game in as many days. It needed a big seventh inning Thursday to beat Morgan Park.
At one point, Dodson retired 16 in a row as he struck out three and walked five, including walking the bases loaded in the seventh.
"I just had a hard time getting that third out," Dodson said. "I knew when T.J. came in, he would get the job done."
Mount Carmel had some chances early, but could not capitalize. It left the bases loaded in the third and had a runner on second in the fourth, but could not advance him.
The Caravan rally started when Tom Hayes reached on an error and pinch-runner Beau Filkins stole second and third bases. One out later, Justin Gonzalez singled Filkins in to tie the game. With the bases loaded, Justin Sanchez walked on four consecutive pitches, bringing home Brent Novosel with the go-ahead and eventual winning run.
"I had the take sign, so I just took the pitch, knowing the bases were loaded," Sanchez said. "I was just patient and I knew there was no place to put me."