CRESTWOOD | Mount Carmel's two big-time players came up big time Monday night.
Oregon recruit Jerry Houston drove in both runs and Kansas recruit Jeremy Kravetz gutted it out on the mound to send the Caravan to the Class 4A state finals.
Mount Carmel edged Lockport 2-1 Monday at the Class 4A Standard Bank Stadium Super-Sectional in pitchers' duel between Kravetz and the Porters' Evan Martens, who struck out 10 and gave up five hits.
Kravetz made it interesting as he hit a batter and walked another in the seventh. Lockport's Ron Sessler hit a long drive down the right field line that would have won the game, but it went foul by a few inches. He then ended the game with a fielder's choice.
"I didn't make it easy on my teammates tonight did I?" Kravetz said. "It was intense, but I wanted to finish and I had the plays behind me.
"This is a great feeling to get to state."
Coach Brian Hurry came out to talk to Kravetz and settled him down.
"No way was he coming out," Hurry said. "I told him to settle down and 'your defense is just waiting to make the plays for you.' He is a battler and he proved that."
Kravetz, who has two wins and a save in the last week, fanned five, walked two and hit two.
The Caravan (32-8) will be making their second Class 4A state finals appearance in three years as they finished fourth in 2011. It is the program's fourth state finals appearance overall.
Mount Carmel will play either Moline or Neuqua Valley at 3 p.m. Friday in one semifinal at Joliet's Silver Cross Field.
Houston singled in Beau Filkins in the third to give the Caravan a 2-1 lead.
"I knew he was a good off-speed pitcher, so when he threw me a fastball, I took advantage of it," Houston said. "Man, what a great game. They are a good team and we knew this would be a battle."
Lockport beat the Caravan for the 2005 Class AA title.
Filkins singled in the third inning and was sacrificed to second by Ako Thomas. Josh Stowers hit a grounder and the shortstop, who tried to tag Filkins but missed. Lockport coaches tried to argue that Filkins ran out of the basepath.
Head coach Andy Satunas and Mount Carmel coach Brian Hurry then exchanged some words before Houston then singled in Filkins.
The Caravan scored in the top of the first without the benefit of a hit. Thomas walked on four pitches then stole second and went to third as the pitch was a wild pitch. One out later, he scored on a Houston groundout,
Lockport tied it in the second as Jeff Pattison doubled with two outs and Thomas Smith singled him in.