As Marist battled through its slate of summer games in June, senior Brett Freiberg noticed something in the dugout.
The RedHawks were a tad quiet.
Then, he realized why. A senior class full of players who started three and four years on the varsity had graduated, leaving a lack of leadership for a young returning core.
Freiberg knew that he and the other seniors had to fill that void.
“I’ve never had to put myself in a leadership role. It’s different stepping up and being vocal, getting the guys going,” Freiberg said. “I want to be a good example with a lot of new guys coming in. We want to set a good example on and off the field.”
With a new wave of underclassmen joining Freiberg and the returning RedHawks, host Marist prevailed 10-1 on June 26 over Evergreen Park for the summer regional title.
Freiberg and Tristan Stefanos had 2 RBI apiece. Jack Harmon, Ryan Adasiak and Jonny Crowel scored 2 runs each.
Crowel reached base 4 times, including a single, a walk and being hit by a pitch twice.
The junior catcher was a playoff call-up to the varsity his freshman year. He split time with Evansville-bound Max Malley at catcher this spring.
Not the new kid in the lineup anymore, Crowel echoed Freiberg’s feelings: he’s ready to step into the spotlight.
“It’s our turn to take over the team and lead, bring the team along with us,” Crowel said. “We still feel like we have a chance to win every day. Last year was a learning year for me. Now I know what varsity is like, and I have that experience. I’m looking forward to playing every day and getting some wins.”
The Marist lineup strung together 3 big innings against Evergreen Park, scoring 5 in the second, 3 in the third and 2 in the fourth.
With the bases loaded in the second, Freiberg poked a blooper down the left-field line, bringing Mark Brannigan and Noah Smith (RBI) around to put Marist up 5-0.
Freiberg said he got the pitch he was looking for and was able to get just enough of the ball for a timely hit.
“It was a first-pitch fastball, so I was trying to get a good swing on it. I really didn’t,” Freiberg said with a laugh. “I got under it and should have driven it to left center. It got the job done though and knocked in a couple RBI.”
Brannigan, Adasiak and Crowel finished with a RBI each.
Pitchers Dan Murczek, Hugh Sullivan, Conor Kelly, George Bilecki and Brannigan combined to allow just 2 hits to Evergreen Park.
The RedHawks will play St. Laurence on July 8 at 12:30 p.m. in a sectional matchup. Mt. Carmel will square off against Br. Rice in the other sectional game to kick off the three-day, double-elimination tournament with a bid to the summer state tourney on the line.
The previous summer format had sectionals and state being played in back-to-back weeks in mid-July.
Marist Coach Kevin Sefcik said the double-elimination regional round added a welcomed new layer to summer ball.
“With summer, we don’t have all our players all the time,” Sefcik said. “If you have a day where guys are at showcases or tournaments, you have a chance to stay alive. It’s an opportunity to get the younger guys in and see how they fare, show them some things.”
Leading the Evergreen Park effort were Thomas Murphy (run, RBI, 2 walks) and Colin Janes (run, 2 hits, triple).
Br. Rice 4
Mike Bernas, Ben Guzek and Jake Sullivan pitched well for the Crusaders in the Richards regional title game. Nate Mosqueda (triple, 2 hits) and Nick Daugherty (RBI) led the Crusaders.
Nick Miketinac earned the complete-game win for the Caravan, allowing 1 earned run. Ethan Imlach delivered a timely 2-run double in the sixth in the Oak Lawn regional championship game.