CHICAGO | Just 10 days earlier, Marian Catholic had beaten Marist and Redhawks left-hander Ryan Kairis 3-2 in an East Suburban Catholic Conference game.
It would be the Spartans' last win of the season, which was ended Thursday by the Redhawks and Kairis with an 8-2 decision in the semifinals of the Class 4A Marist Regional.
Eighth-seeded Marist (21-14) will meet top-seeded Lincoln-Way North (26-2) in an 11 a.m. title game Saturday. Marian, the 10th seed, finished the season 15-21.
Senior Michael Bainbridge pitched Marian to its win over Marist last week. Thursday, coach Phil Wail opted to send junior Bryce Hennessy to the mound.
"(Hennessy) was our No. 1 pitcher all year long," Wail said. "He's 5-6 now, with losses in about four one-run ballgames. He was set up to throw against (Marist) last week, but we saved him because we didn't want them to see our No. 1."
The Redhawks touched Hennessy for six runs in 3 1/3 innings, with three of those earned.
In the first, a leadoff walk, a sacrifice and an error set the stage for Barrett Callaghan's two-run double, and one out later Callaghan scored on Eric Hansen's base hit. In Marist's four-run fourth, a one-out walk, an error and an RBI double ended Hennessy's day. Bainbridge came on in relief, allowing two more runs to score before getting out of the jam.
Marist added another run in the fifth to make it 8-0.
"Most games we're in because we'll pitch and play defense," Wail said. "Today, we didn't pitch and we didn't play defense. That makes it hard when you don't score a lot of runs."
It was a particularly tough loss for seniors Patrick Schmidt and Luiscarlo Avila, the two players on this Marian squad who played significant roles for the Spartans' 2012 Class 3A state championship. Schmidt reflected on the ups and downs of him Marian tenure.
"It's been very interesting," the first baseman and No. 3 hitter said. "Last year, we had a better regular season than we did the state championship year, but we ended in the regional championship.
"It's all about senior leadership. The state championship, in the playoffs our seniors took over and brought everyone together. … This year, we weren't clutch. We didn't execute when we needed to. We're not a good enough ballclub to overcome mistakes."
At least there's hope for the future. Marian scored twice in the seventh thanks in part to two of its youngest players.
After senior Christopher Baker led off with a double, sophomore catcher Jace Howard followed with a single and freshman third baseman Mark DiLuia plated them both with a single to center.
"We've got a nice nucleus," Wail said. "We've got a ton of pitching coming up … a deep freshman class. We'll see what happens."