JOLIET — Mike Brennan’s first 3 at-bats in Saturday night’s Class 4A baseball state championship game were forgettable at Silver Cross Field.
The fourth at-bat was unforgettable as Brennan atoned for 3 strikeouts with a bases-loaded RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Oak Park-River Forest its third title with a 4-3 victory over defending champion and West Suburban Silver rival Lyons Township.
Jack Picchiotti’s second triple of the game down the right-field line started the seventh. A pair of intentional walks set up Brennan as Oak Park (30-9) won its first title since 1981 under the legendary Jack Kaiser.
Lyons (27-13), which was trying to become the first big-school repeat champion since Maine in 1958-59, tied it at 3-3 in the sixth on Stewart Nelson’s infield RBI single. But a chance to take the lead was thwarted in the seventh when Matt Robare was thrown out at the plate on a one-out grounder to Oak Park shortstop Dan Shinsako.
Lyons took a 2-1 lead on RBI singles by Brad Taylor off Seton Hall-bound winner Zach Weigel (7-1). Oak Park scored first on Picchiotti’s RBI triple in the third.
Marian Catholic (25-17) completed its stunning turnaround from a sub-.500 team late in the regular season to 3A state champions with a 10-2 victory over LaSalle-Peru (34-7). Rob Cifelli, Patrick Swanson and Brett Lilek had 2 hits apiece to support winner Ben Santori, who was backed by errorless defense.
Two of L-P’s 4 errors came in an 8-run third as Marian broke open a 1-1 game.
In the third-place game, Nazareth’s Dominic Purpura (10-1) allowed his only 2 hits and run in the seventh in a 2-1 win over Troy Triad (32-10). Ryan Marske homered for Nazareth (31-10).Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.