Baseball: Marist rolls to regional title, will face St. Laurence in sectional semifinals
By Steve Millar
Marist’s players are not happy with how the regular season went, but the playoffs present an opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to make it a special year.
“We know we’re good enough to make a run,” junior shortstop/pitcher Cal Sefcik said. “We definitely had our ups and downs in the regular season with a lot of young, inexperienced guys. We have the talent to be a dangerous team, though.”
The RedHawks got off to a strong start May 26, rolling to a 10-1 win over Richards in a Class 3A Marist Regional semifinal.
They kept the good times going with a 10-0 romp over Hinsdale Central in the regional championship game. That set up a date with St. Laurence in the St. Laurence Sectional on June 1.
Against Richards, Sefcik went 3-for-5 with a home run, two doubles and three RBIs, George Bilecki had two hits, two RBIs and two runs, and Justin Lang added two RBIs for Marist (18-17), which took on Hinsdale South for the regional title on May 28.
Sean Cody finished 2-for-3 and Neil Glynn produced an RBI groundout for the lone run for Richards (9-22).
Sefcik doubled in each of his first two at-bats, driving in two runs with the second one as part of a five-run second inning for the RedHawks.
“The two games before this, I was struggling a little bit,” Sefcik said. “It was good to get my swing back. I know my swing’s going good when I hit the first ball the other way.
“My fourth at-bat looked kind of bad at first, but then I got one good pitch and that’s all I needed.”
That fourth at-bat resulted in a solo home run in the fifth inning that capped the scoring, putting the RedHawks up 10-1.
Marist coach Kevin Sefcik, Cal’s dad, was glad to see his son break out with a big performance to start the playoffs.
“That was good,” Kevin Sefcik said. “We definitely have to have him going, swinging the bat and driving in runs. You definitely want to have your better guys hot at this time.”
While Cal Sefcik provided the big swings, it was small ball at the bottom of the order that sparked Marist.
Down 1-0 in the second, the first three hitters reached for Marist as Collin Jennings was hit by a pitch, Jake Stefanos walked and No. 8 hitter Quinn Duffy came through with a bunt single to load the bases.
“Bunting is huge,” Kevin Sefcik said. “We’re trying to find ways to get runs. We’ve had trouble doing that.”
Lang, batting ninth for Marist, followed with an RBI single to tie the game before Bilecki’s single and Sefcik’s double knocked in two runs apiece.
“When our bottom of the lineup hits, we’re really tough to beat,” Bilecki said. “Trevor Jennings started that inning with the hit by pitch. They rolled it over to the top.
“I’ve been in a bit of a slump these last couple weeks but I’ve been working with our coaches, trying to make adjustments. I got lucky enough to get a 3-2 pitch down the middle and took it the other way.”
Marist added four runs in the fourth.
A group pitching effort limited Richards to one run on seven hits. Collin Amsden, Frank Bilecki and George Bilecki each threw two innings for Marist, with Sefcik pitching the seventh.
Glynn, Ovidio Montes, Christian Rosales, Vincent Fuentes and Ryan O’Shea all had one hit for the Bulldogs.
Marist, meanwhile, hopes this was just the start.
“The main difference is last year we felt a lot of pressure because we were the best team in the state, I felt, going into the playoffs,” Cal Sefcik said. “This year, we’re just playing super loose.”
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