Baseball: Montini bats up to the task against Ridgewood
Montini's Ryan Nelson had a basic approach to his fifth-inning plate appearance on Saturday.
His team 1 run away from a 10-run rule victory over Ridgewood, Nelson had thoughts of getting an early start to a summerlike afternoon.
"Early in the game, I was taking some big swings, and I knew I could end the game early with basehit," Nelson. "I simplified my at-bat, just tried to get a basehit to end the game."
Nelson lived up to his words, smacking a fifth-inning run-scoring single in Montini's 11-1 win over Ridgewood in the Class 3A St. Patrick sectional championship game at Kerry Wood Cubs Field in Chicago.
The Broncos will play Grayslake Central, which defeated Crystal Lake South 3-2 on Saturday, at 4 p.m. Monday in the Naperville supersectional at North Central College.
The Broncos (20-11) belted 13 hits and scored 4 runs in the second, 5 in the fourth and 2 in the fifth to land one game away from the program's first state appearance since 2005. Nelson said the Broncos' bottom half of the order -- Nick Wind, Rocco Catalano, Estevan Moreno and Ben Lah -- sparked the team.
"You have to start with a the bottom of the lineup," Nelson said. "The guys hit like they never hit before. We had back-to-back doubles and back-to-back triples, we have never done that.
"Winning a sectional championship means so much. We've been working so hard from the beginning of the season to get this."
Catalano, a right-hander, drilled two run-scoring doubles to lead the hitting attack. His RBI double in the second accounted for the first run of the game.
Antoine Harris and Nate Kremkow had consecutive run-scoring triples in the four-run second.
"I just took a step back and focused on the task at hand and at the plate simplified myself," Catalano said. "I felt amazing. It all comes to discipline, even if they were throwing a bit slower, you had to simplify and make sure your mechanics."
Junior pitcher Michael Sclafani (6-4) allowed five hits and struck out three and walked two batters in five innings of work. He managed to only give up a lone run, on an RBI double by Frank Magnelli in the third, despite the Rebels leaving six runners on base in the last three innings.
"In the bullpen I was feeling really good coming into the game," he said. "Once I got onto the mound, it was little shaky. But I just went out there and threw my stuff and had a good outcome."