GENEVA – Nick Talarico's path to becoming a starting pitcher didn't come smoothly.
The Marmion senior battled shoulder tendinitis in his right pitching arm throughout last season, mainly being used for an inning or two in relief. In the Class 4A regional final against St. Charles East, Talarico threw five strong innings.
"That started my stride to where I am now," Talarico said following the Cadets 7-2 victory over Montini on Monday. The Cadets prevailed on senior night, which was hosted at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva.
Marmion (8-13) snapped a two-game skid in the process.
"We didn't get [Talarico] until the week before the regional [final] last year," Marmion coach Frank Chapman said. "We made sure in the [offseason] that the workload was a little bit less early on in the season."
Talarico cruised through six innings of work on Monday, striking out seven and allowing just two runs on four hits. Not bad for Marmion teammate Jackson Best, who was catching Talarico for the first time ever in varsity action this season.
Talarico followed up his strong outing against St. Laurence last week, where he struck out nine and allowed just one hit over six innings.
"I think it's a really big stepping stone to take [into] the playoffs," Talarico said. "They're coming up really soon; we're always prepared for playoffs...we're just hoping to take [a deep run]."
The big, looping curveball was a prominent pitch for Talarico, who developed a changeup in the offseason to complement the fastball and curve.
"It's nuts," Best said of the curve. "[It] comes in nice and slow, just enough time for it to get a good break. It fools the batters all the time with the fastball coming behind it."
"The velocity is starting to get there," Chapman said. "Which is good, so we're getting the velocity at the right time so we can play off that a little bit."
The Best-Talarico connection seems much more developed than a one game stint would indicate.
"I really was confident in Jackson," Talarico said. "I've seen him catch a lot of games between the past two years. I know how well he is back there framing [and] blocking pitches."
Montini (14-11) struggled in the field defensively, committing six errors on the afternoon. Four came in the first inning, where the Cadets tagged Montini starter Max Kasallis for four runs.
"We didn't come ready to play today," Montini coach Rich Janor said. "Just didn't play clean baseball. Aside from a really bad first inning, it was a decent ball game. We just didn't come ready to play today."
Cadets senior Jake Carlson added an RBI single in the second inning, while Montini didn't push across its first run until Michael Sciafani's RBI groundout in the fourth to make it 5-1.
Carlson later tacked on a two-run single in the fifth for the 7-1 lead. Montini's last run came one a one-out single with two on base in the sixth inning, but Dillon DiOrio made an outstanding diving catch on a lineout and doubled up the runner from first to end the threat.
Eleven Marmion seniors were honored: Jake Carlson, Nathan Christiansen, Jackson Best, Dillon DiOrio, Casey Lovejoy, Nick Talarico, Lucas Sagstetter, Eric Lundell, Nathan Garrison, Charles Drayer and Mitch Nieweglowski.