Call it a redemption bid for Ryan Kairis.
Looking to avenge a one-run defeat on the mound from Marian Catholic the previous week, Kairis rebounded by hurling a complete game as Marist dismissed Marian from the Class 4A playoffs with an 8-2 victory on Thursday.
The win punches No. 8 Marist’s ticket to host No. 1 Lincoln-Way North 11 a.m. Saturday for the Marist Regional championship.
“We were looking to attack their hitters and get first pitch strikes,” Kairas said. “We tried to get them back on their heels.”
He carried out the plan to a tee.
Kairis (6-4) consistently stayed ahead of the count in keeping Marian off balance. He gave up six hits and fanned two. Both of Marian’s runs — and half its hits — came across in the final frame when the game was out of reach.
“We picked up the ball on defense and hit timely when we had to,” Kairis said. “It felt really good to get out there and have the team put me in a good position to win.”
Marist (21-14) scored three runs in the first inning behind a two-RBI double from Barrett Callaghan. The RedHawks added four more in the fourth on two hits, two walks and a Marian (15-21) error.
Callaghan knocked in his third run of the game with a sacrifice-fly in the fourth inning. Pat Meehan added an RBI single, a stolen base and run in the frame.
“Our pitching all year has been phenomenal and our hitting hasn’t really been there,” Callaghan said. “It was great to give them that support because they’ve been there all year for us.”
Bryce Hennessy was handed the defeat for Marian in 3 1/3 innings. He allowed three hits, four walks and three earned runs.
Marist scored three unearned runs on three errors from the Spartans.
“When we don’t play the field like that, we didn’t give ourselves a chance,” Marian coach Phil Wail said. “We don’t hit very good and we don't score many runs."
Mark DiLuia drove in both runs for Marian with his seventh-inning double.
Marist’s Blake Bieniek and Eric Hansen each hit an RBI and combined to score three runs.