Baseball: St. Viator rolls by Deerfield, into sectional final
St. Viator continues to roll on.
The Lions won their third convincing state playoff baseball game in a row Wednesday in Arlington Heights. St. Viator banged out 13 hits and scored in every inning in a 10-1 romp over Deerfield in the Class 3A sectional semifinal.
St. Viator (24-11-2) which is seeded second, will host fifth-seeded Prairie Ridge for the sectional title Friday at 4:30 p.m. Prairie Ridge upended top seed Grayslake Central 5-4 Wednesday.
The Lions have feasted on opposing pitching in the state playoffs, scoring 27 runs in their three games. They also beat up on Deerfield (22-13) for third time this season, scoring 35 runs in the teams' three meetings.
"Now we get a chance to win this thing at home," said St. Viator coach Mike Manno, who picked up his 301st career win.
"It is all we could ask for. I told the kids before this started that I am proud of them. This has been a great group of kids, especially with COVID. I am super happy for us and we are looking to keep this going."
Viator took advantage of 3 Deerfield errors and several other miscues that included a runner hit by a batted ball, another runner picked off a base as well as several misplayed balls.
"I really thought all day that we really executed well," Manno said. "From running to bunting and to our three pitchers, we did what we needed to do. I also thought we played real good defense and our bench was amazing today. It was just a full team effort."
Ian Farrell led the hitting attack with a single, double and triple, scoring a run and driving in another.
"It is getting hotter and the ball is jumping off the bat," Farrell said. "We have been coming together as team and we have had great energy. It feels great."
Viator scored 2 runs in the first. Tony Pluta walked and later scored on Farrell's single. Farrell would then score on a sacrifice bunt by Joe Bollard.
Deerfield scored its only run in the top of the second. The Lions got that run back in their half of the inning when Casey Hintz's RBI single drove in James Gorman, who had singled and advanced on a fielder's choice.
The third inning then belonged to Bollard.
The right fielder made a tremendous running catch near the wall and then turned and doubled off the Deerfield runner at first base. Bollard would then score in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Nick Conenna on the 10th pitch of his at-bat that made it 4-1.
"I got a great read off the bat," said Boland, who pitched the last two innings. "I knew I had plenty of room. I saw the runner was past second and I just threw it in. I felt that play really gave us momentum."
That momentum enabled the Lions to add 2 runs in each of the next three innings.
Bollard had a 2-run, two-out single in the fourth. Pluta blasted a 2-run homer in the fifth.
"It felt great off the bat," said Pluta, who has 4 home runs this season. "This was a serious win. I thought it would be closer at the beginning of the game. But we came through and executed."
The Lions ended their onslaught when Bollard, who had singled, scored on a fielder's choice and Conenna scored on an RBI single by Gorman.
"We talked before the game that if we could score every inning it just keeps putting pressure on the other team," Manno said. " I thought our guys did a great job. We had some big two-out hits."