Jim Murphy's 400-foot blast in the top of the sixth inning gave Fenwick a much-needed boost in securing the Clemente Regional title with a 12-10 victory over the host on Friday.
The Friars were stalled at 8-8 against their regional opponent when Pat Brady reached base on a hit batsmen and Jack Horrigan followed with a single. Both players stole a base, setting up Murphy's three-run shot. Joe Carlini, John Brooks, and Dave Larsen then followed with RBI singles. Murphy ended the day with five RBIs, two of which came off a triple in the first inning.
"He really socked the heck out of the ball," said Fenwick head coach Dave Hogan of Murphy.
The Friars jumped off to a favorable start, scoring five runs in the first inning. But Clemente's bats and the school's quick infield gave pitcher Mike Brown fits for most of the game. Brown racked up six runs, 11 hits and two walks in five innings. All 11 hits were singles.
"Some of the hits probably wouldn't have gotten out of any other infield other than that one," said Hogan. "The numbers really don't give him his due. He pitched a good game for us."
Joe Valis ended up with the win, giving up four runs on five hits in two innings.
The Friars advance to take on Chicago Public League tournament champ Lane Tech tomorrow (Thursday, 4 p.m.) at the Priory in Game 2 of the Fenwick Sectional.
Hogan said he'll either put Mike Brown or Mike Giovenco on the mound against Lane Tech. Giovenco (5-2) helped the Friars to an 11-1 thrashing of Lincoln Park on May 25. The senior right hander allowed one run on four hits in five innings. He struck out seven and walked three. Brooks led the Friars offensively with a 3-for-3 day, including a grand slam. Vince Dorsey finished 2-for-2 with a double and three RBIs in the lopsided victory.
The Friars could face cross-town rival OPRF in the sectional title game on Saturday (11 a.m. ) at the Priory. Fenwick fell to the Huskies 7-0 in a meaningless regular season game two weeks ago at UIC.
"It doesn't matter who we play in the sectional title game. Right now it's all about playing Lane Tech," said Hogan. "But, of course, it would be nice to see our rival again if all goes well on Thursday."