CHICAGO | One reason Mount Carmel coach Brian Hurry has 401 wins at only 39-years-old is his unwavering trust in his players.
Malik Carpenter singled in the bottom of the eighth to push Mount Carmel over Illiana Christian 2-1 in nonconference action.
"You gotta always be ready," said Carpenter, who drove in Josh Stowers for the game-winning run. "From the first inning to the last, you have to be in the game because you never know when the coach is gonna call your name."
Stowers, who reached on an error to start the eighth, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, then was sent home on Carpenter's blooper between the second baseman and the right fielder.
Hurry had no issues going to a little-used sophomore in that position.
"I have all the confidence in the world in Malik," he said. "In order to win a championship, you have to be able to win in many ways."
Mount Carmel (25-6) has certainly done that in 2013 after beating St. Rita 10-3 on Saturday by banging out five doubles and five homers in the game.
The Caravan got just four hits against a very game Illiana Christian starter Caleb Jonkman, who went 7 1/3 innings with one walk and five strikeouts.
Vikings coach Dan Gibson praised his hurler's efforts, especially because he was coming back from some less than desirable circumstances.
"Against this team in the past, we've had starters not make it out of the first inning," he said. "He attacked the strike zone from the get-go and made it easy to call the game because he threw the ball where I wanted it."
Jonkman's lone mistake occurred in the fourth after he walked MC shortstop Jerry Houston, who then stole second. After a balk sent him to third, Joe Kennedy plated him on a sac fly.
The lone run for the Vikings (12-12) came in the previous half inning when center fielder Tyler Sroczynski scored on a throwing error to second base after walking and getting to second on a passed ball.
Illiana's biggest chance to score was in the eighth after having the bases loaded with one out in the inning, but Caravan reliever Dave Dobrinich got No. 3 hitter Jordan Davis to line out and No. 4 hitter Josh Van Beek to pop out to retire the side.
"We had our opportunities. I felt confident when we had our third and fourth guys coming up with bases loaded," Gibson said.