Baseball: Parola powers another Mundelein win
Of course he remembered his last homer. It came in Cooperstown. Yes, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
That's where Brett Parola cleared the fences during a Little League visit when he was 12.
Well, the Mundelein senior must have missed the feeling of a fence-clearing homer. So in his third at-bat on Saturday morning at Stevenson, he hit two shots that cleared the fence.
OK, only one counted.
"I hit the first one much better," Parola said.
Only it curved foul.
Later in his at-bat he again cleared the fence in left, and this one counted as a solo homer.
"My last homer went 185 feet," Parola said.
His first homer in high school gave the unbeaten Mustangs some breathing room in their battle at Stevenson. It also interrupted a strong pitching dual between the Mustangs' tall southpaw Steven Sanchez and Stevenson's Michael Thon.
Mundelein scored 3 runs in the sixth and prevailed 5-1 in the North Suburban Conference clash.
"Coming off our state run (second place in Class 4A), we are lot more comfortable this year," Parola said after the Mustangs improved to 14-0 and 6-0 in the NSC. "We had a good start today, but our bats went to sleep in the middle of the game."
Mundelein cleanup hitter Brendan Murphy supplied the big blow in the opening frame with a run-scoring double. The 6-foot-7 Sanchez took it from there. He surrendered only a second-inning safety to Stevenson shortstop Jack Housinger.
"I was really ready for this game," Sanchez said. "My change-up was working, and I got a lot of groundballs."
Sanchez helped close the second inning by inducing a double-play grounder. The southpaw was sailing along into the fifth when his control deserted him. He walked three Patriots to load the bases. Again, he got out of trouble by inducing an infield popup.
"That's where the momentum changed," Stevenson coach Pat Block said. "We didn't get the big hit, and Mundelein came up and scored three runs."
The Mundelein offense stalled in the middle of the game. Thon allowed a leadoff double to Jeff Morton but retired three in a row to end the threat.
"Mike did a nice job," Block said. "He kept us in the game."
Parola's homer cleared the Mundelein bench and also helped to ignite the Mundelein offense. Sanchez ripped a pitch to right field for his first hit. Andrew Beres followed with another single, and the Mustangs were in business. Ryan Patel's RBI groundout brought in another run.
Stevenson finally broke through in the seventh without a single hit. A hit batter, a walk and an infield error started the rally. This time, Michael D'Angelo came through with a sacrifice fly. The game ended when Mundelein turned its second double play of the game.
Mundelein's win completed a three-game sweep of the Patriots (6-6, 0-4).
"We had three good high school games with Stevenson," Mundelein coach Todd Parola said. "Both teams competed. It's great that we were able to win all three."