Brother Rice's Michael Schalasky rips a two-run double to start the scoring against Mount Carmel. | Jon Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
On perhaps the closest day to summer all spring, an offensive explosion was fitting.
Mindful of the fact it had dropped both meetings to Catholic Blue rival Mount Carmel earlier this year, Brother Rice took full advantage of its third crack.
Piecing together a 13-hit attack, eight of the nine Crusaders who started got at least one hit en route to a 10-0, five-inning victory over the No. 9 Caravan on Wednesday at Benedictine University in Lisle as part of the Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Baseball Tournament.
Andrew Dyke, highlighted by his bases-loaded single to center with a drawn-in infield in the fifth to end the game at 10-0, led the way with three hits.
Dyke finished his day 3-for-4 with two RBI while three others — Erich Lieser, Kevin Biondic and Michael Schalasky — had two hits apiece for Brother Rice (24-9).
Dyke, Kyle Hilliard and Schalasky all knocked in two runs each for coach John McCarthy.
The Crusaders broke the game open by sending 10 men to the plate in a six-run third against junior Caravan starter Jack Pappas.
“I think we were just looking away. [Pappas] was throwing a lot of off-speed, so we were just looking away and were lucky to get enough to barrel them up,” Dyke said.
Five consecutive one-out hits in the third off Pappas helped pace the Crusaders' outburst and give Mike Enriquez all the cushion he would need.
Enriquez was just fabulous on the mound in helping Brother Rice salvage its third meeting of the year with the defending Class 4A state champions.
"Yeah, it’s awesome. We’re peaking at the right time. We didn’t play our best baseball the first two games against them and it was overall a great team win and my defense backed me up," he said.
The right-hander faced the minimum in allowing just one hit, a Greg Ploszaj single in the third that quickly got erased by a double play off the bat of Marko Boricich, while fanning just two.
“Just pound the strike zone. They really couldn’t catch up to my fastball, so throwing that curveball the last few innings was actually really helping,” said Enriquez, who improved his record to 7-2.
Pappas went three innings and gave up eight runs on nine hits for Mount Carmel (24-7).