Baseball: Joliet Catholic bounces back from loss with easy win over Marian Catholic

After suffering its first two losses of the season last week, the Hilltoppers were dominant Monday

Joliet Catholic's Owen Weirs

JOLIET – After winning back-to-back state championships, Joliet Catholic was off to the kind of start people expected this season at 11-0.

Last week was a rough one, however, as the Hilltoppers suffered their first loss of the season to Marist on Wednesday, responded with a win on Friday and took their second loss to Nazareth on Saturday.

On Monday against Marian Catholic, they once again looked like back-to-back state champions.

The Hilltoppers scored early and often while Owen Weirs was fantastic on the mound. It added up to a convincing 10-0 victory in six innings.

“Owen set the tone” JCA pitching coach Ryan Quigley said. “He went out there and threw the ball really well, which sets up your pitching for the week. We stress all the time to go out there and throw a lot of strikes, and he went out there and threw a lot of strikes.”

The Hilltoppers had little trouble on the day. Jake Troyner got JCA on the scoreboard in the first inning with an RBI groundout to score Matthew Simmons.

The game broke open a bit in the second inning as Graham Roesel scored on an error before Simmons’ sacrifice fly brought home Lucas Simulick. An RBI single by Zach Pomatto that scored John O’Brien increased the lead to 4-0.

After a scoreless third, JCA increased it lead to five in the fourth as Simulick scored on a passed ball. In the fifth inning, the Hilltoppers added another four runs, beginning with Simulick’s RBI single to score Jose Granados and Zach Beitler.

O’Brien’s RBI groundout then scored Roesel to increase the lead to 8-0. Simulick later scored on a wild pitch, and Granados’ sacrifice fly to score Beitler ended the game.

“I think we hit the ball well” Weirs said. “We made plays in the field which helped us. That’s what we need to do in order to win the game. ... There’s little to no pressure on the mound because our offense was really clicking. When our offense is doing well, that’s when we play our best.”

Simulick (2 for 3, three runs, three RBIs) and Beitler (2 for 4, two runs) led the way offensively, while Weirs (four strikeouts, two walks, three hits allowed) had a quality outing on the mound.

“We had a chip on our shoulder today,” Simulick said. “We were 11-0 to start off the season and then lose two games in a week. We came back and had something to prove.”

As for Marian, it was a rough day all around. The team committed five errors in the field and had only three hits. Any time they seemed to get runners on base, they were unable to capitalize as Mitchel Stanton walked six batters and gave up five earned runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings of work.

“That’s the beauty of baseball is you always have the next day,” coach Dave Letourneau said. “When you don’t have your best stuff and don’t show up like we didn’t, you come back right at it tomorrow and compete. I told them we have to compete. If you want to beat a team with a tradition and history like [JCA] you have to compete, and we didn’t today. We’ll be ready to bounce back tomorrow.”