By the time Dominic Purpura realized he was throwing a no-hitter, it was gone.
The same can’t be said for Nazareth’s state title hopes.
Purpura was unhittable for six innings — losing his no-hit bid on the first batter he faced in the seventh — and top-seeded Nazareth beat No. 4 Glenbard South 8-2 in the semifinals of the Glenbard South sectional Wednesday. Boosted by the Roadrunners’ five-run third inning, Purpura struck out five and cruised until Glenbard South junior Justin Joseph led off the seventh with a liner to left.
“He jinxed himself because he (mentioned) it going out in the seventh inning,” Nazareth coach Lee Milano said. “His father said he’d give him 100 bucks if he threw a no-hitter, so that went right out the window.”
No matter. By then, the Roadrunners had all but secured their spot in the sectional final.
Facing Glenbard South senior Brian Suffern, Nazareth (28-9) got started in the bottom of the second with a leadoff double by Timothy DalPorto, who scored on a triple by Jake Bartels. Ryan Marske made it 2-0 with an RBI single to center, and Kyle Piotrowski cracked the game open three batters later with a slicing flyball that Glenbard South’s right fielder misplayed for a two-run triple.
That chased Suffern, who allowed five runs — two earned — in 1 innings.
“He threw three fastballs that inning that were above the belt that they got their arms extended on,” Glenbard South coach Mike Riley said. “If you’re not getting a good breaking ball over against this team and keeping the ball down, you’re going to get hit hard.”
Glenbard South (26-11) did manage to take advantage of some uncharacteristically sloppy play by Nazareth in the sixth inning, turning a dropped third strike, a walk and two errors into a pair of unearned runs. But the Roadrunners countered by manufacturing a run in the bottom of the sixth — just like they did in the third and fourth innings — to keep the Raiders deflated.
“It seemed like they added one run to their lead every inning,” Riley said. “I know that’s not how it went down, but it sure seemed that way.
“When it’s 8-2 and you only have one hit for the game ... You need something to get you excited.”
Purpura set the tone for Nazareth in the first inning, nabbing a line drive off the bat of leadoff hitter Mitch Gasbarro as he fell to the ground. He faced the minimum number of batters over the next four innings, with defensive support coming in the form of two fantastic plays by DalPorto at shortstop and a hard liner snagged by Bartels at first.
“I give all my credit to my defense,” Purpura said. “We knew coming in that (Glenbard South) swung early. I mixed up my speeds and pitched backwards and it worked out.”
Pitching and defense has been a postseason theme for Nazareth, which has outscored opponents 29-3 in three playoff games and will play the winner of Thursday’s game between No. 2 St. Joseph and No. 6 Clemente for the sectional title.
Glenbard South saw its season end after winning the Lake View regional with victories over No. 13 Noble Street Charter and No. 5 Montini. The Raiders were 6-6 way back on April 7 before closing their season with wins in 20 of their last 25 games.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.