St. Rita’s Sean McDevitt gave a glimpse Saturday of the different ways his skills can impact a game.
The junior third baseman used his bat in the third inning to drive in a run.
He used his speed and aggressiveness in the bottom of the seventh to score the winning run for a 3-2 victory over Hampshire in the Class 4A third-place game at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet.
It’s the fourth time in 11 years that St. Rita (35-7) has finished in the top three in the state in 4A. The Mustangs took second in 2009, 2010 and 2014.
“It feels good to win our last game of the season,” St. Rita coach John Nee said. “We would have preferred to have it be in the championship game. But we’ll take this.”
Brendan Carrane and Luke Napleton each had two hits for the Mustangs.
With the score tied 2-2 in the seventh, McDevitt was hit by a pitch. Jalen Greer, drafted in the fifth round Tuesday by the Oakland A’s, hit a routine grounder to third base.
McDevitt scooted to second and made an aggressive dash to third. After recording the out, the Whip-Purs tried to throw out McDevitt at third.
Instead, the ball skipped down the left field line, allowing McDevitt to come home with the winning run.
“I saw the (third baseman) didn’t even look at second base,” McDevitt said. “I thought I had a chance to get to third. Once the ball got away, coach Nee said to go for it and get home.”
Nee hopes to be waving the 6-foot, 160-pound McDevitt home even more next season.
“If he gets bigger and stronger, he can be really, really good,” Nee said. “He can be special.”
McDevitt entered Friday’s game with .411 batting average, 18 runs and 14 RBIs. He had struck out just twice in 77 at-bats.
“One of the things I like to do is put the ball in play,” McDevitt said. “I’m a contact guy.”
Junior right-hander Luke Carroll (5-1), the last of four pitchers for the Mustangs, picked up the win with one scoreless inning of relief.
Justin Valdez, a junior lefty, worked three spotless innings in relief of senior starter Vic Aguilar, who surrendered two runs in two innings.
“After those two runs in the first inning, our pitchers were outstanding,” Nee said. “That allowed us to chip away.”
Senior outfielder Gavin Mottl, who singled and scored on McDevitt’s single in the third to cut the deficit to 2-1, admired St. Rita’s resilience.
“I feel like all year long we found a way to win,” he said. “No matter what happened, we were able to come through.”
Greer, who had committed to Missouri, confirmed he will be turning pro.
“I’m going to sign,” he said. “High school was fun. It hasn’t hit me that I won’t be playing high school anymore.”