Montini ousts JCA for second straight year

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Montini ousts JCA for second straight year

Dick Goss
SeasonPass.com

Among Montinis many assets is strong-legged place-kicker Andrew Harte.

The Broncos had driven into position to tie Joliet Catholic in the final minute. They were facing a fourth-and-2 at the Hilltoppers 17-yard line.

However, when you are in pursuit of a fourth consecutive state championship and you have senior Joe Borsellino on your side, you believe.

Borsellino took the snap in Montinis spread formation and followed senior running back Dmitri Taylor up the middle for a six-yard gain to the 11. Taylor gained 10 on the next play and Borsellino sneaked in with 30.8 seconds remaining to give the Broncos a 40-37 victory Saturday afternoon in a classic Class 5A semifinal at ATI Field at Joliet Memorial Stadium.

We call the play a 14-follow, and D.T. (Taylor) looked at me and said, Follow my (butt) to state, Borsellino said of the key fourth-and-2 conversion. We knew we could pick it up. Montini is all about going for the win.

We were going to the for the win, there was no other way, Montini coach Chris Andriano said. We did not come here to play overtime. We came here to win.

Besides, both teams were completely exhausted.

It was that kind of a semifinal.

Much like the 2011 5A championship game, when No. 15 Montini beat No. 19 Joliet Catholic 70-45, the Broncos (11-2) had little luck containing Joliet Catholic senior wingback Ty Isaac. He rushed for 277 yards in 30 carries, scored three touchdowns and became the schools career rushing leader with 5,315 yards, surpassing the 5,070 of J.R. Zwierzynski.

That means Isaac ran for 792 yards and scored nine touchdowns in two meetings with Montini in the last 12 months, yet both efforts were in defeat.

Joliet Catholic (8-5), which had a 528-440 advantage in total yards as wingback Tyler Reitz rushed for 123, scored on every one of its possessions of the first half, except for when it ran out the clock in the final minute. The Hilltoppers upped a 28-14 halftime lead to 31-14 midway through the third quarter when Brian Bravo kicked a 33-yard field goal. But Montini was far from finished.

Borsellino, who scored three second-half touchdowns, climaxed a touchdown drive, catching a six-yard pass from Alex Wills to make it 31-21 and setting the stage for the Montini defense.

Joliet Catholic was at its 45 with a fourth-and-1 late in the third quarter when coach Dan Sharp decided to go for the first down. Isaac wanted the ball and got it, but he was met by Joe Nitti, Nicholas Sanzeri and Dylan Thompson for a yard loss.

It was the way this game was going, Sharp explained. We had confidence we would get the first down. Even if we punted there, I dont know if 40 more yards would have mattered. We couldnt stop them in the second half.

Four plays later, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Borsellino scored from nine yards out to make it 31-27.

On Joliet Catholics next possession, after two first downs, Thompson forced an Isaac fumble that Montinis Charles Long recovered at the Montini 44. On the next play, Wills hit Taylor on a bubble screen that he turned into a 56-yard touchdown up the right sideline to put Montini ahead 34-31. Taylor rushed for 157 yards, caught three passes for 63 and scored three times.

Playing against Ty Isaac only motivated me, Taylor said. Hes great. I just wanted to show, in my eyes, whos better.

Joliet Catholic responded, driving to a 22-yard Isaac touchdown run with 4:41 left for a 37-34 lead. That, however, left too much time for a Montini offense that scored on every possession of the second half.

The Hilltoppers tried to move the ball in the final half-minute behind quarterback Craig Slowik (8-of-12 passing for 114 yards), but their season ended at the Montini 43-yard line.

Injury Report: Kevan Smith back on DL, Jason Heyward dodges a bullet

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Injury Report: Kevan Smith back on DL, Jason Heyward dodges a bullet

Each week, CSNChicago.com takes a look at the injury report from both the Cubs and White Sox, presented by Service King.

WHITE SOX

Kevan Smith has had a roller coaster of a month, and it's back on the downfall. On Tuesday, Smith returned to Triple-A Charlotte after missing about a month due to a back injury. But after the game, Smith went back on the DL with an undisclosed injury. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run.

Smith was promoted to the main roster on April 24 to replace catcher Alex Avila, who went on the 15-day DL with a sore hamstring. The following day, Smith suffered a sacroiliac joint dysfunction injury during warm-ups without making his MLB debut.

Nate Jones returned to action last week after missing a few games due to a bruised foot caused by a line drive. Jones made three consecutive appearances from May 21-23. In those games, he pitched a combined 1.2 innings and only allowed one hit while striking out three.

Jake Petricka (right hip impingement) and Daniel Webb (right elbow flexor inflammation) are still on the 15-day disabled list. There's no timetable for their returns. On Saturday, manager Robin Ventura said Petricka was still battling soreness in his hip. 

CUBS

The Cubs dodged a serious injury bullet a week ago when Jason Heyward crashed into the wall in San Francisco. The Cubs outfielder wound up missing just three-plus games and returned to the lineup Tuesday against his old team in St. Louis.

Heyward went just 1-for-10 with a walk and two strikeouts in the final two games against the Cardinals, but his re-insertion into the lineup has helped create a butterfly effect with the Cubs lineup. Heyward did make his one hit count — a two-run double in the Cubs' 9-8 victory Wednesday.

The Cubs got more positive outfield news when Matt Szczur was activated from the disabled list Saturday and has looked completely over his hamstring issue.

Szczur has appeared in every game since his return, going 3-for-6 with a triple, two RBI and two runs scored. He his now hitting .389 with a 1.089 OPS on the season.

'Yay me!': Cubs celebrate David Ross' 100th career homer

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'Yay me!': Cubs celebrate David Ross' 100th career homer

"Yay me!"

That's how David Ross announced his presence to the Chicago media Friday afternoon, almost four hours after hitting his 100th career homer.

Ross' three-run blast in the fourth inning (before a pair of rain delays lasting 93 minutes) helped lead the Cubs and Jon Lester to a 6-2 victory Friday.

"It was just my personal thing," Ross said. "It was nice to have a nice, round number. One hundred in The Show is pretty cool for me. But it affected the game and impacted the game, so it's even better. It wasn't just a blowout or a meaningless homer when you're down a bunch."

The Cubs have been counting down to 100 since last season and finally got to celebrate with "Grandpa Rossy," who sported a Papa Bear T-shirt after the game.

Joe Maddon gave Ross a bottle of wine and Lester gifted his personal catcher a bottle of champagne in a box signed by everybody on the roster.

"The boys were excited. I was excited," Ross said. "I think my favorite part while all this has been going on is rounding second base and looking in the dugout. Makes me smile every time seeing everybody so happy for me and counting down for me.

"They're as happy as I am, so that makes me feel good."

As soon as Ross made contact, he knew it was gone, slowly walking a few steps and uncharacteristically admiring it a bit before beginning his trot.

He got a curtain call, too, and he acknowledged hitting his 100th blast was extra special coming in front of the Cubs fanbase.

"I run down in the outfield before the game and ever since I hit 99, that's all I hear: 'Hit a homer, Grandpa,' I mean, nobody even knows my first name anymore," Ross joked.

"It was cool. There was even a David Ross sign a little girl had today. I mean, who doesn't like seeing that? Stuff like that is just really cool."

It was Ross' fourth homer of the season and he now has 17 RBI and an .828 OPS. Compare that to the 39-year-old's one homer, nine RBI and .519 OPS last season.

"It's awesome," Lester said. "Obviously, going into last year, we all knew where he was. I did. He'll admit: He didn't swing the bat like he wanted to last year.

"It's just nice to see him feel comfortable and be the old Rossy. I'm glad he did it. It's kinda nice he did it the day I was pitching to add a little bit to it."

Ross' 100th homer ball wound up glancing off the Nuveen sign in left field and wound up on Waveland. The fan that ended up with it only asked for a photo with Ross in return.

"Who wants a picture of me?!" Ross laughed. "I'm surprised he didn't ask for [Kris Bryant] or [Anthony Rizzo] or something like that. Again, yay me!"

White Sox change their minds, Chris Sale to start Sunday

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White Sox change their minds, Chris Sale to start Sunday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Robin Ventura changed his mind and Chris Sale will now face the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon.

The White Sox manager announced his decision Friday afternoon, a little less than 24 hours after the club said it would keep its rotation in order following Thursday’s rainout. Rather than face Kansas City, the choice meant that Sale would have been pushed back and faced the New York Mets on Monday instead.

But as Ventura and his coaching staff discussed their options (he had five pages full of potential rotation options on Thursday), ultimately it made the most sense for Sale to face a divisional opponent. Sale is set to face Edinson Volquez in the series finale at 1:15 p.m.

“This is the better play,” Ventura said. “(Sale) didn’t throw very much the other day. We have a division team. A lot of things going into it. Just keep him on schedule and keep him pitching. It’s that simple.

“You play these guys a lot. They’re in your division. You have a chance for (Sale) to still go out there. You look at it with what he did the other day. It made a little more sense to have him go Sunday.”

Sale lost for the first time in 10 starts all season on Tuesday. He threw only 89 pitches against the Cleveland Indians, which has the White Sox comfortable with keeping him on schedule and working on a normal four days of rest instead of needing another.

“He was out of the game quicker than usual last time so we can do it,” pitching coach Don Cooper said. “We feel good about Sale against anybody. Division team, that might have had something to do with it.”

The White Sox said Jose Quintana would start Monday against the Mets with Mat Latos on Tuesday and Friday’s starter, Miguel Gonzalez, throwing on Wednesday.

No matter what happens in Friday’s game, Ventura said he likely plans to stick with Carlos Rodon against the Royals on Saturday and Sale on Sunday.