Mt. Carmel 3
Fenwick    2

The Fenwick baseball team and Mt. Carmel split of a pair of games last week, offering a tantalizing glimpse of how competitive the Catholic League is this season.

The Friars fell to the Caravan 3-2 on Saturday. Fenwick pitcher Joe Sweeney threw well, allowing just three earned runs and five hits, while striking out four. The Friars (10-3, 2-1 Catholic League) took the early initiative offensively by scoring a pair of runs in the fourth. Sweeney tripled and scored on Charlie Moore’s sacrifice fly. Consecutive singles by Joe Musso, Andy Lutz and Joe Horrigan (RBI) led to the Friars’ other run.

“We did everything [Saturday] but win the game,” Fenwick coach Dave Hogan said. “It was just a good Catholic League game. Sweeney was in total control until the seventh [inning].”

In that final frame, Mt. Carmel (8-6) rallied with three runs to pull off the victory. A walk, three fortuitous infield singles, and a key triple sparked the Caravan comeback. Steven Bajenski drove in the game-winner.

Earlier in the week, Fenwick had knocked off the Caravan 4-3 in 12 innings.

“That game taxed our pitching staff a bit,” Hogan said. “Everybody had to be pushed back a day because of that game. We had scoring opportunities in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings, but it was great that we finally came through in the 12th.”

The Friars captured the win when Nick Goggin stroked a single to bring Mike Falsetti across the plate. Gino Rooney (2-for-4) and Horrigan (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) led Fenwick offensively.

On the mound, starter Cam Verbeke yielded five hits and fanned 13 batters over eight innings. George Kinsella picked up the win in relief, throwing four innings of one-hit ball. Defensively, the Friars turned a trio of timely double plays.

Other results offered mixed reviews for Fenwick last week. Host Lake Zurich pounded the Friars 13-3 on Friday; however, Fenwick defeated Leo 18-0 and Fenton 4-1.

“I think we came without our gloves [against Lake Zurich],” Hogan said, alluding to the Friars’ seven errors. “It was a long bus ride home from Lake Zurich.”

From a big picture perspective, Hogan sees the Friars in the enviable position of a winning team with room for improvement. Most importantly, Fenwick is potentially five deep in its starting rotation.

“Our top three pitchers [Verbeke, Kinsella and Sweeney] are very good,” Hogan said. “We should be getting Chris Gleason and Matt Gallo back soon. For the most part, we have played good defense, too. I think we need a little harder contact with our bats.

“Overall, we are in a situation with a 10-3 record that I think 90 percent of teams would like to be in.”

The Friars host De La Salle at the Priory on Saturday (11 a.m.).

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...