Baseball: Mastela’s catch keys Lockport win
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org April 20, 2012 11:08PM
Joliet Catholic's Cal Placher pitches against Lockport. | Paul James Bergstrom~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 24, 2012 8:17AM
Austin Mastela has struggled at the plate, but the Lockport senior right fielder has not let it affect his glove work.
On a cold, windy Friday night at Ed Flink Field with the score 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning, Joliet Catholic cleanup hitter Nate Searing lined a shot toward the right-field corner with two outs and two runners on. Mastela stayed with it and made a highlight-reel, diving catch, saving two runs in Lockport’s 3-1 victory.
No. 5 Lockport (11-7) scratched out runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, and junior right-hander Evan Martens (3-2) finished a complete game when he struck out red-hot Chris Tschida on a 3-and-2 breaking ball with the tying runs aboard in the seventh.
“Austin’s play was a game-changer, and Evan has been winning some big games,” Lockport coach Andy Satunas said.
“I knew he (Searing) hit it away from me,” Mastela said. “I read away. It drifted and I went with it. I thought I was going to get it. You have to think that way.”
Ryan Peter’s double barely eluded Mastela’s glove with two outs in the seventh and Zach Melone walked to bring up Tschida, a .550 hitter (22-for-40) who was 2-for-2 with an intentional walk.
“That was his (Martens’) last hitter,” Satunas said. “We thought with his breaking pitch he had the best chance to get (Tschida). That kid is some player. He’s fun to watch.”
Junior right-hander Cal Placher (2-2) pitched five solid innings for No. 3 Joliet Catholic (12-4-1), which lost for the first time in 10 games.
“Their pitcher did a great job, and they did a nice job defensively,” Hilltoppers coach Jared Voss said. “Nate (Searing) got robbed twice.
“Placher did a great job, too.”
Derek Bangert, who is hitting above .500 for Lockport, went 2-for-3 and drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth.