Rauner Shows Poise in Defeating UIC For NAC Baseball Championship

 

Kerry Wood Field, Chicago, IL - The NAC Baseball championship pitted Rauner, the #1 seed out of the NAC Gold Division, against UIC, the #2 seed in the NAC Blue Division.  Many perceived the NAC Blue as the stronger side, especially with UIC downing Rauner rather handily 13-3 in their regular season match-up on May 19th.  However, according to first-year Rauner coach Jovanni Cedeno, coming out on the wrong side of that lopsided scoreline better helped prepare Rauner if they were to meet the Firecats again.  “UIC is a team that has mastered trick plays.  They are good at getting into their opponent's heads.”  Cedeno knew it was going to take poise and discipline to flip that regular season score in their favor.

 

Rauner started the game with three consecutive singles from Sr. Mike Lenz, Fr. Edwin Abreu and Fr. Jesus Gomez.  Coach Cedeno stressed the importance of their underclassman, “We gave everyone a shot to earn playing time. We had 4 freshmen consistently starting at key positions, and they all became big contributors.”  With two ensuing walks and two batters hit by pitches, Rauner had put six runs on the board in the top of the first and never looked back.

 

Spotted a six run lead prior to taking the mound, So. Coliani Martinez took over from there.  He UIC, a team that had scored nine runs against Muchin in their semifinal match-up, to two runs on three hits while striking out five and pitching a complete game.

 

Martinez Strikeout:

 

https://twitter.com/NAC_Athletics/status/739148854440939520

Rauner tacked on four more runs over the course of the next six innings, and the outcome was never in doubt.  “Every time they tried something, we had an answer for it and momentum shifted back to us,” Cedeno said.  Fr. Jesus Gomez stayed hot after his 1st inning single, going 3-4 with a triple, two runs scored and two RBI’s.  Martinez helped his own cause with a 4th inning single that drove in Gomez and got the Wildcats to what would end up being the final score of 10-2.

After the game, reflecting on the win, Cedeno said, “We are a championship team at Rauner now, we need to be an example not only on the field but with our academics and behavior.”  When asked about a key attribute that got them to this place, Cedeno simply said, “Resilience, we kept on fighting.”

Rauner Championship Moment:

https://twitter.com/NAC_Athletics/status/739200671270850560