St. Rita topples rival St. Laurence in Stevie’s Way tournament

SHARE St. Rita topples rival St. Laurence in Stevie’s Way tournament

Chris Delgadillo will never forget the time he met Stevie Bajenski five years ago at a summer baseball camp.

“He was like a mentor to me,” said Delgadillo, a senior at St. Rita. “We’re both short, play second base; he loved the game. Meeting him made me want to play like him. He made an impact on me.”

Delgadillo made an impact Thursday against St. Laurence in the third annual Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Tournament.

Delgadillo registered a single, double and sacrifice fly to help St. Rita to a 14-7 win over St. Laurence at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.

Marty Bechina was 3-for-4 and drove in four runs for St. Rita (30-3), which advances to Friday’s semifinal against Joliet Catholic at 5:15 p.m. at Standard Bank.

Delgadillo acknowledged his contributions to the victory held extra significance since it occurred at the tournament in honor of Bajenski, who died in 2009 at age 17 from complications following heart surgery.

Bajenski was about to begin his senior year at Mount Carmel.

“It’s very special for me to contribute and win the game in this tournament,” Delgadillo said.

St. Laurence led 4-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth. That’s when St. Rita took control, scoring three runs in the fourth, five runs in the fifth and four in the sixth.

“We were down 4-2, but it was still early,” Bechina said. “I trust the guys to come back. Once we took the lead, we didn’t let up.”

Trailing 10-4, St. Laurence (27-5) scored three runs in the sixth, despite recording just one hit — an infield single by Mike Miller. Three St. Rita pitchers walked three batters and hit another with a pitch that allowed the Vikings to close within 10-7.

“We were able to get back to 10-7 and if we get a base hit, we could have made it 10-9,” St. Laurence coach Pete Lotus said. “But it’s tough to win when you give up 14 runs.”

Joining Bechina and Delgadillo with multiple hit days for the Mustangs were Nick Goldsmith (3-for-4, RBI), Danny Gleaves (2-for-3, 2 RBI) and Tyler Halas (2-for-4, RBI).

Jake Shepski picked up the win on the mound, going five innings and allowing four runs on 11 hits. He struck out four.

Brad Wood reached base four times for St. Laurence, recording three singles and a walk. Miller (3-for-5), Roger Wilson (2-for-3, 2 RBI), T.J. Marik (2-for-3) and Anthony Chimera (2-for-4) had strong performances at the plate.

“I really like this tournament,” Bechina said. “It’s a reminder to play the game the right way and not take the game for granted.”

Joliet Catholic 2, Providence 0

Mitch Boe and Keegan Tyrell recorded RBI singles off Jake Godfrey in the sixth inning that carried the Hilltoppers over the Celtics. Nick Dalesandro fired six shutout innings for JCA, with Kyle Polaski notching the save.

Watch highlights and the full replay on High School Cube.

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