CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Not only was the weather very cold Wednesday, with a brisk wind from the northeast making it quite uncomfortable to play baseball, but Marian Catholic’s bats have been cold during a three-game losing streak.
Then again, when two of the losses came against ranked teams – a nationally-touted team from Fayettesville, Ark., and Illinois No. 2-ranked St. Rita – it’s nothing to hang you head about.
The result of playing a tough early-season schedule – the Spartans also face No. 1 Mount Carmel next week – is playing well against Crete-Monee on Wednesday, as the Spartans notched a 4-1 victory.
It was Marian’s trademark small ball that got the job done. A leadoff bunt single by Mark Dilvia in the second inning resulted in the first run of the game. He added a run-scoring single in the fifth for Marian’s fourth run.
“Especially in this weather, but that’s what I preach anyway,” Marian coach Phil Wail said about the small ball mentality. “Playing in (the East Suburban Catholic) and in this ball park (410 feet to center field and deep power alleys), there’s a lot of one- and two-run games. This is one of the biggest fields in the area.”
The Spartans (3-4) also got some timely hits, including a RBI double from Matt Clary that scored Dilvia in the second.
The offense was plenty for three Marian pitchers who combined for a one-hitter. Dilvia went four innings as the starter to get the win. He struck out six and walked two without giving up a hit. He also went 2 for 3 with a run and RBI.
Danny Tanowski pitched the next two innings, striking out the side in the fifth and giving up an unearned run in the sixth. The save went to an unlikely source – Chris Baker, who struck out two in the seventh.
“That’s the first time he’s pitched in a game in two years,” Wail said. “He’s always had an arm. He might be our secret weapon now.”
Logan Kent drove in the only run for Crete (1-2) with a double in the sixth. Defense was the issue for the Warriors, who committed three errors.
“We didn’t handle the cold weather as well as (Marian) did,” Crete coach Gene Cahan said. “I think we pitched well, but we haven’t played good defense so far this season. We need to clean things up.”