Baseball: Hintz, St. Viator take down Nazareth
Casey Hintz can't wait for the warmth of Arizona.
The St. Viator senior, who committed earlier this season to play at the University of Arizona next season, pitched six innings in 44 degree temperatures Saturday. Hintz shut down Nazareth, throwing some shade on the Roadrunners as Viator pulled away for a 9-1 win Saturday at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg.
Despite it being early in the season, the win was a big one for St. Viator (11-0, 1-0). Not only did the Lions knock off East Suburban Catholic Conference rival Nazareth in the conference opener for both teams, but both teams are ranked in the Top 10 in the state.
"I thought it was an unbelievable game," St. Viator coach Mike Manno said. "That is a really good team we beat today. There is a reason they are ranked so high."
Hintz started slowly and struggled at times in the first two innings. But once he warmed up, he allowed just three baserunners in his final 4 innings on the bump.
"The weather will be much better in Arizona, "said Hintz, who struck out five and allowed just 4 hits. "I just had to keep the mentality that it was nice and warm out here and keep going at the hitter. I was struggling to find the zone at first. I was just being too pretty. I just started to pitch to contact and get more outs and less pitches."
The Lions broke the game open in the seventh inning, scoring 8 runs thanks to 4 hits and three costly errors by Nazareth (9-2, 0-1)
After an out Hintz and Tony Pluta each walked. Ian Farrell's grounder then went through a Nazareth infielder, scoring Hintz. Dom McKevitt followed with a 2-run single and the Lions were on a roll.
Singles by Zan Von Schlegell, Connor Nicholas and Hintz, along with two more errors by the Roadrunners, allowed Viator to plate five more runs.
"We put the ball in play and they made a couple of mistakes," Manno said. "Obviously we capitalized."
Manno said his team continues to work to improve.
"We have a long way to go," Manno said. "This team is never satisfied. They come to work every day and have a great attitude. It is a different guy each game that steps up and helps us out."
Nazareth took a 1-0 lead in the second.
Luca Fiore singled to lead off the inning. He then stole second and went to third on Sebastian Gutierrez's fielders choice. Fiore then scored on a wild pitch.
The Lions tied it up in the fourth on some nifty baserunning by Joe Bollard. After he reached on a walk, Bollard stole second and went to third on a throwing error. When Zan Von Schlegell struck out swinging, the ball hit the ground for a drop third strikeout.
An alert Bollard sneaked down the line awaiting the throw to first. When the Nazareth catcher threw the ball to first, Bollard took off for home. His head-first slide beat the throw to tie the game at 1-1.
Nazareth coach Lee Milano said his team, which starts six sophomores, is still learning.
"We had a rough inning," Milano said. "We have six sophomores out there and sometimes that is going to happen. It is a learning experience. You could see the wheels fall off and sometimes the inexperience shows. "