St. Viator didn't take long to make it look as if Carmel starting pitcher Jimmy Spagna was in for a long Monday in Arlington Heights.
After nine pitches, Spagna had given up 4 hits and 4 runs and the Corsairs had a 2-run lead wiped out. But there was still a long way to go in the East Suburban Catholic Conference baseball game.
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Spagna (3-0) allowed only 2 hits with his final 80 pitches and Carmel (18-4, 9-0) produced another trademark comeback in an 11-4 victory.
"We know we can hit our way out of it because this year we have a strong hitting team," Spagna said.
Especially in the middle of the order where Spagna, Paul Poirier and Chris DiVarco each had 3 of Carmel's 15 hits. Poirier's 2-run homer to left in the fifth erased a 4-3 deficit.
By then, Spagna was rolling as he retired 13 of 14 hitters before a two-out single by Viator (13-9, 5-4) sophomore Jack Czeszewski (2-for-3) in the fifth.
"The first thing I thought about at the end of the game is that was really a courageous effort," said Carmel coach Joe May.
"That just fired us up a little bit," Poirier said. "That was a good thing, especially with our bats."
Spagna finished with 3 strikeouts and no walks and went to a three-ball count on only three hitters.
"The first inning I started out not staying on my backside," Spagna said. "I was jumping out and trying to throw it by everybody.
"In the second and third innings I started to settle down, let my legs work through the fastball and my off-speed came from there."
Czeszewski and Julian Sipiora both singled and stole second to set up a 2-run double by Cory Kay (2-for-3), Kevin Gannon lined an RBI triple to right and David Alameda drove in a run with a groundout in the Viator first.
Viator didn't get a runner past first the rest of the way.
"That's been our theme all year," said Viator coach Mike Manno, whose team has been ahead in all of its ESCC losses. "We jump on every team. We score a lot early and I don't know what it is. I don't know if it's a focus thing."
Viator also committed 5 errors that led to 6 unearned runs - the first on a botched first-and-third play with two outs in the fourth where Carmel's Brian Serio scored.
After a one-out error in the fifth, Poirier drilled his third homer on a low, first-pitch fastball from Viator lefty Brendan King.
"I was just looking fastball and he gave it to me right where I wanted it," Poirier said after going 3-for-5 with 4 RBI.
Mike Pudlo capped the fifth with a 2-run single. Carmel put it away in the sixth as Poirier and pinch hitter Connor Fitzgerald had RBI singles and DiVarco, who came into the game hitting .680 with 28 RBI, had an RBI double.
"At any minute anyone can pick guys up," May said. "That's when you know you have a team that can be successful."