Baseball: Collectively, Carmel cruises to regional triumph
Carmel Catholic's baseball players just didn't execute.
Sure, the Corsairs executed on the field. They pounded out 19 hits, including 3 homers and 3 perfectly placed bunts, and stole 9 bases in as many attempts in beating host Richmond-Burton 17-2 in a Class 3A regional final in Richmond on Saturday. But when it came to giving the silent treatment to Tony Baumgart after the senior hit his first varsity homer, his giddy teammates barely could keep quiet.
Who blame them if they were simply too excited for Baumgart?
Consider that Baumgart had 1 varsity at-bat last year and saw "3 pitches," he said, as he was stuck behind a talented outfield trio of Joe Santoro (Army), Austin Ehren and Eddie Pietschmann.
"I worked really hard in this off-season," Baumgart said. "I was with the Slammers program, and they just kept getting me better and better. I put in all the work that I could, and it really paid off."
Oh, it's paid off. Baumgart earned All-East Suburban Catholic Conference honors this spring, and against No. 11 Richmond-Burton (15-18) the left fielder went 3-for-3 from the No. 9 hole, coming up a triple shy of the cycle.
"He's like a second leadoff hitter," coach Bill Taylor said after his third-seeded Corsairs (23-7) earned a berth in Wednesday's 1 p.m. Lake View sectional semifinal against No. 2 St. Viator at Kerry Wood Field in Chicago.
"To be honest, at the beginning of the season, I did not think he would play as well as he has," said Ehren, Carmel's speedy leadoff hitter and center fielder. "I'm glad that he's come through. He's a big part of our team."
The Corsairs hit all 3 of their homers in a 12-run fourth, which ended the game early (15-run deficit after three innings). Freshman Ben Wiegman (2-run shot) and sophomore Lukas Galdoni hit back-to-back home runs. Three batters later, Baumgart smoked a pitch over the fence in left field with a runner aboard.
Baumgart bunted for a hit in the second inning, before hooking a double into left field in his first at-bat of the fourth inning.
"Last year, Coach told me that to make a difference and to be able to play next year I had to really work on my bunting, because I was not good at bunting last year," said Baumgart, who graduated with his classmates Friday night and plans to play baseball at Albion College in Michigan. "Right now, I think have 13 bunts for hits."
Ehren (3-for-3) twice bunted for hits. He and sophomore Drew Wiegman (3-for-4, double) each stole 3 bases. Baumgart also had a stolen base, as did Jackson Lubor and Charley Dir (1-for-2, 2 RBI).
"Coach always says a single is actually a double for certain people because if we get on, most likely he's going to have us steal," Ehren said.
Carmel also complemented its small ball with 6 doubles, including a pair by Pietschmann (3 RBI). Galdoni and Jimmy Tarzon doubled as well. The Wiegman brothers went a combined 5-for-7. Lefty Jay Ward pitched all 4 innings (2 hits allowed) for the win.
"We got some pretty good athletes," Taylor said. "We try to stress that you need to be able to win games in multiple ways. You have to do that in high school baseball. The conditions can make such a difference. The other day we come over here (to Richmond-Burton) and the wind's howling in from left field. Today is a calm day, and the ball carried. We did a little bit of everything. We had some guys have some great at-bats."