Joliet Catholic’s Nick Dalesandro showed flashes of brilliance on the mound Thursday night.
The defense behind him, not so much.
Dalesandro recorded eight strikeouts over five innings but had to overcome five unearned runs in the third as Sandburg rallied to tie the game at 5.
The Eagles also were in the giving mood, however. Joliet Catholic scored three unearned runs in a five-run fourth inning to take a 10-5 advantage.
“Justice was serviced,” Dalesandro said.
The Hilltoppers added two more runs in the sixth to secure a 12-5 victory in the Lockport Regional final. The win propels Joliet Catholic (15-0) to the Phil Lawler Classic Elite Eight, where it will take on either Prairie Ridge or Warren 4 p.m. Monday at Benedictine in Lisle.
“That’s going to happen; it’s part of the game,” Dalesandro said of the unearned runs. “I know if I was out there I wouldn’t want my pitcher screaming or yelling at me. I just tried to stay composed. I’ve got trust in those guys, and I was just trying to get more balls to them. Then by the fourth and fifth, they were making plays for me.”
Connor Brandon had a two-run single and scored twice for Joliet Catholic (15-0). Keegan Tyrell, Drake Fellows and KC Simonich also scored twice apiece.
After allowing 12 runs in its three previous games, Sandburg (14-3) gave up 10 walks and a hit batsman.
“Defensively we weren’t perfect,” Sandburg coach Jim Morsovillo said, “but I thought they way we competed on the mound wasn’t very good. Giving up 11 free bases, you’re not going to have much of a chance against a team like this.”
Joliet Catholic’s Mike Quiram pitched two innings in relief. He allowed one hit and notched two strikeouts to close the game.
“(Dalesandro) was pitching very well for us, so whenever we make errors we feel like we owe it to him to step up and make the next play,” Quiram said.
Andy Gaytan went 2-for-4 with a run for Sandburg. Jim Roche added an RBI single for the Eagles.