Mike Costanzo limited Mount Carmel to two runs over six innings in the Mustangs' 4-3 win over the top-ranked Caravan. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Mike Costanzo hasn’t lost many games during his three-year varsity career at St. Rita.
Mount Carmel, however, had the senior left-hander’s number.
The Caravan beat Costanzo three times, including a 12-4 romp May 17.
“I’ve been lit up all three times,” said Costanzo, who has won 28 games in his varsity career. “I’ve been tattooed.”
That changed Saturday during the biggest game of the season. Costanzo limited Mount Carmel to two runs over six innings and St. Rita held on for a 4-3 win to claim the Class 4A Reavis Sectional championship.
St. Rita (35-4) advances to Monday’s Crestwood Supersectional against Downers South.
“I couldn’t eat this morning and I woke up at 6 [a.m.] and couldn’t get back to sleep,” said Costanzo, who allowed four hits, four walks and struck out two. “That team is no joke over there. That’s one of the best lineups we faced all year.”
A fielding error by Costanzo in the top of the first inning allowed Mount Carmel (31-8) to grab a 1-0 lead.
St. Rita tied the game in its half of the first against starter Marko Boricich. Tyler Halas blooped a single to score Danny Gleaves (2-for-2) to knot the game 1-1.
The Mustangs took the lead for good in the second, thanks to a Caravan error that made it 2-1.
St. Rita opened up a 4-1 lead in the fourth. Shane Peisker’s RBI single made it 3-1 and Halas’ fielder’s choice upped the advantage to 4-1.
“The last two or three weeks we’ve been playing great baseball, great defense,” Mount Carmel coach Brian Hurry said. “A couple of plays we didn’t make were uncharacteristic for us.”
The Caravan committed three errors on the day.
In true St. Rita-Mount Carmel fashion, drama unfolded in the seventh. Costanzo walked Greg Ploszaj to lead off the inning, forcing St. Rita coach Mike Zunica to call on Jake Shepski, who registered a complete-game win Wednesday.
After Shepski retired two consecutive hitters, Jeremy Hoston and Malik Carpenter singled, cutting the lead to 4-2, and Josh Stowers walked, loading the bases.
“When they got that first hit up the middle [Houston RBI single], I thought I’d get the next guy,” Shepski said. “But they kept getting guys on.”
That is, until Shepski was able to get Scott Kapers to pop out to shortstop Marty Bechina to end the game.
“We had the tying and winning runs on base,” Hurry said. “I’m proud of the way the kids kept battling.”