By Ryan Gierhahn ‘23
Year in and year out, Brother Rice and Mount Carmel are two of the most competitive and successful baseball programs in the Chicago Catholic League and state of Illinois. Every time they take the field against each other, it’s expected to be an intense game.
After splitting their regular season series, the Crusaders ended the Caravan’s season last year with a 2-1 walk-off victory in the sectional championship. It’s safe to say that the Caravan were more than ready to get their revenge this year.
Game 1 of the series was on Tuesday, April 25, at Mount Carmel’s Haggerty Field.
Before the game, senior Danny Durkin said, “We know it’s gonna be a hard fought game, so we need to stay focused and not take them lightly.”
The Caravan got off to a quick start, but the Crusaders kept responding and ultimately overpowered them in the end. Brother Rice earned the 16-9 win in a heavy offensive battle. Amir Gray, Jackson Natanek, and Chris Daugherty fueled the team with big games.
The Crusaders traveled back home for game 2, and looked to finish the series with a clean sweep. They started on fire, scoring 5 runs on 5 hits in only the first inning. This continued into the second inning, where the Crusaders added on 7 more runs and went up 12-0.
But Mount Carmel didn’t back down. They responded with 5 runs by the fourth inning, but it just wasn’t enough as the Crusaders’ bats stayed hot and led them to a win yet again. The final score of game 2 was 16-9.
Senior Jack Gilmartin said, “I’m glad we handled business like we should’ve. Any Catholic League win is big for us, especially against Carmel. Hopefully we can keep this streak going.”
These two wins improved the Crusader’s record to 13-9 and 10-1 in Catholic League play. They look to carry this momentum into the second half of the season, with games against St. Rita, Providence, Marist, and St. Laurence in the near future. Although this Crusader team may be young, they look like they are starting to get comfortable at the right time.