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Scc Overcomes Early Deficit In Defeating Loyola

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / May 18, 1998

BATON ROUGE – The St. Charles Catholic Comets proved once again Tuesdaythat it is not how you start, it is how you finished.

The Comets fell behind 2-0 to Loyola Prep after the first two batters but rallied for a 6-3 victory over the Flyers in the Class 2A semifinal game at Episcopal High School, advancing to their first state final since 1977.

The game began inauspiciously for the Comets as Loyola starting pitcher Bobby Gilliam led off the first inning by ripping a double into the left field corner off St. Charles Catholic starter Courtney Bonura. Andy Digilormofollowed with a fly ball to left that sailed over the left field wall just beyond the reach of left fielder Wayne Stein, giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead.

Bonura bounced back quickly, retiring the final three batters of the inning.

“I wasn’t worried about that,” Bonura said of Digilormo’s home run. “Itwasn’t a bad pitch. He just did a good job of turning on it.”St. Charles Catholic countered in the bottom of the inning as Ty Monica ledoff with a grounder to the left of first base. First baseman Carey Morellmade a diving stop of the ball but his throw sailed past Gilliam covering the bag. Gilliam then had Monica picked off first but Monica kept runningfor second and slid in safely as Morell held his throw.

After Matt Weber struck out, John Price stroked a single into center. Steinfollowed with another single to center, scoring Monica and sending Price to third. Gilliam picked Stein off first while issuing a walk to JasonGonzales but threw a wild pitch to Steven Faucheux, bringing in Price with the tying run.

“I knew we could come back the whole time,” Price, who went 4-for-4 with two runs batted in, said. “We are used to that, it has happened in alot of games this year. We picked each other up and came back and scoredthose two runs.”Faucheux and Brian Horvath walked to load the bases but Jason Moss threw out Bonura by a step on a slow grounder to third to end the inning.

Jon Clement opened the inning by doubling off the glove of Michael Bovenzi who made a diving attempt of the ball in right-center field. Monicafollowed by hitting a fly ball to left that fell in along the left field line, putting runners at first and second.

Weber did his job, sacrificing the runners along with a bunt down the first baseline. That set up Price, who chopped a single over third base, scoringClement and Monica and giving the Comets a 4-2 lead.

Loyola took advantage of a couple of Comet errors in the third to cut the deficit to 4-3. With one out, Gilliam reached as Horvath overthrew first ona grounder to short and was sacrificed to second by Digilormo. Bonuraappeared to have Randy Core struck out on a pitch in the dirt to end the inning but Gonzales’ throw sailed over first as Gilliam scored.

Bonura shut the door on a Flyer rally in the fourth. Bovenzi led off byreaching on an error by Clement. Two force outs by Jared Polite and Mosslater, Morell sent Moss to third on single to right and stole second. ButBonura got out of the inning by getting Brian McGimsey to fly out to center.

The Comets gave Bonura some room to work with in the fifth. Price led offwith a single to left against reliever Patrick Rhodes who came in for Gilliam in the third. Stein then sacrificed Price over and reached as Morelldropped Rhodes’ throw at first. Gonzales followed with a single to right,with Price scoring ahead of the throw to make it 5-3. Faucheux then lofteda fly ball to right, scoring Stein to give the Comets a 6-3 lead.

Loyola threatened in the sixth as Matt McKenzie walked and Bovenzi singled to open the inning. But Bonura came back to get Polite to pop up toGonzales and struck out Moss and Morell to end the inning.

Bonura improved to 9-0 with the victory, striking out eight while allowing four hits and walking one.

“I wanted to hit my spots,” Bonura said. “I had confidence in the team tomake the plays.”St. Charles Catholic coach Frank Monica said he was impressed with theway Bonura came back after the first two batters.

“The first two batters, he couldn’t get his changeup or curveball over and they were waiting on the fastball,” Monica said. “He started getting hisbreaking ball over and that has been his trademark all year long. He settleddown and came back with a lot of poise.”

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