BURBANK | Mount Carmel's Tom Hayes made the most of his second chance Saturday.
With the Caravan trailing St. Rita 3-1 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Hayes hit a pop up that the St. Rita catcher dropped in foul territory.
With new life, the left-handed hitting Hayes ripped a pitch deep to right for a two-run double to give the Caravan a 5-3 lead. It punctuated a four-run inning for Mount Carmel.
St. Rita scored a run in the seventh, but Mount Carmel hung on to win the Class 4A Reavis Sectional 5-4 at Ron Czarnecki Field.
The Caravan (31-8) meets Lockport (32-7) at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Class 4A Standard Bank Stadium Super-Sectional. The sectional title was Mount Carmel's sixth.
The Caravan beat the Mustangs in two of their three meetings this year.
"I was lucky to get another chance and I wasn't going to let my teammates down," Hayes said. "I got a good pitch and just went with it."
He also said there was a little more to it than the wind playing havoc with the ball.
"Steven Bajenski, Kevin Kennelly, they gave a little help," Hayes said. "They wanted to make sure I had a second chance and I wanted to take advantage of it."
Bajenski died in August of 2009 following heart surgery and Kennelly was killed in July of 2011 after he was punched on an Indiana beach.
It was the second time in as many games that Mount Carmel came back from a two-run deficit. Caravan coach Brian Hurry said Hayes has shown the leadership that a three-year varsity starter should.
"Tommy has been carrying us for the least two weeks," Hurry said. "Clutch hits and senior leadership. I think all of our seniors have really come through for us like we expect.
"My team has heart. These guys have grit and they never quit."
One of the big plays in the inning was a double steal in which Jerry Houston stole third and Jason Gasser took second. It took the Caravan out of possible double-play situation.
"It was a gutsy call by Coach (Hurry)," Houston said. "He gave me the sign and I think he just wanted to get a guy on third, but Jason took off and it worked out well."
Beau Filkins led off with an infield single and went to third on a Ako Thomas double, then scored a Josh Stowers grounder. St. Rita first baseman Marty Napleton fell down, but still hung onto the throw and touched the base to get Stowers out. Houston hit a grounder and Thomas beat the throw home to make it 3-3.
Mount Carmel starter Marko Boricich (8-1) went six innings, dueling with St. Rita's Dominic Fosco. Jeremy Kravetz, who pitched Wednesday, came in to pitch the seventh. The Mustangs did get as run off of Kravetz, but it wasn't enough.
"I told Coach (Hurry), anything for the team," Kravetz said. "I told him at breakfast that I was ready for one or two innings if he needed me."
Boricich said he wanted to start the seventh, but his arm was tired.
"It is not about me getting a complete game it is about the team getting a win," he said. "We had a better chance to win with Jeremy out there. He was fresher."
The Caravan scored an unearned run in the third. The Mustangs (31-8) came back to tie it in the fifth, then added two in the sixth.