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Baseball | St. Laurence senior Luke Geary embraces role in ‘pen

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By Steve Millar
Correspondent

Many pitchers would prefer the certainty and routine of knowing when they were going to take the mound.

St. Laurence’s Luke Geary, though, enjoys always being on-call. The senior is thriving in a bullpen role.

“I really like it,” Geary said. “The starters have one day a week where they have to lock in, but I have three or four times a week where I could be called on and I have to be ready. So, I have to always be locked in. I like that.”

Geary held Mount Carmel scoreless over the final 2 1/3 innings May 1 to earn the save as the host Vikings came away with a 9-5 win in a Catholic League Blue game.

Illinois State recruit Luke Stulga led the offense for St. Laurence (18-7, 9-3). Stulga hit for the cycle with a two-run home run in the first inning, an RBI single in the second, a double in the fourth and a leadoff triple in the sixth. He scored three times.

Johnny Wendling went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs and three RBIs, and Minnesota recruit Jameson Martin reached base three times and scored twice.

Martin, Stulga and Wendling hit second through fourth in the Vikings’ lineup after leadoff man Jesse Contreras.

“Those first three and four guys in our order, especially when I’m hot, are really tough for a pitcher to deal with it,” Stulga said. “When all of the boys are swinging like that, it’s pretty unstoppable.”

Blainey Dowling finished 2-for-4 with a two-run single, Joey Ireland went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Kolin Adams reached base three times and scored a run for Mount Carmel (13-9, 6-7), which lost its fifth straight game.

The Caravan rallied from an early 3-0 deficit and were within 6-4 when Geary entered with two outs in fifth inning. Geary allowed one more run in on a base hit from Ireland, but he shut Mount Carmel down in order in the sixth and seventh.

“When he came in, his slider was a little bit up, but he really found a groove those last two innings,” St. Laurence coach Pete Lotus said of Geary. “He was hitting his spots and when he can do that, he’s super effective.”

Geary did some talking toward the Mount Carmel hitters and broke out a funky windup in the seventh inning that he said was inspired by the New York Yankees’ Nestor Cortes.

“It was tough at first,” Geary said. “They barreled me up twice (in the fifth inning). But after that, I had my stuff, to say the least. I was feeling myself.”

The Vikings completed a two-game sweep of the Caravan following a 16-4 win at Mount Carmel on April 29. Contreras led the way in that one, going 4-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs. Ryan Seddon had a triple and three RBIs.

St. Laurence bounced back after dropping two games to Providence earlier in the week.

“We reflected on those games but then we had to forget about it,” Wendling said. “We want to win the CCL and you can’t dwell on a loss. You just have to keep getting better and try to get wins.”

Mount Carmel, meanwhile, is looking for a big response of its own.

“We’re putting ourselves in the hole the last few games with walks and errors,” Mount Carmel coach Brian Hurry said. “The opponent isn’t beating us. We’re beating ourselves right now. The good thing is that’s something we can clean up. That’s something we can control and get better at.”

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