Meditation makes difference for Mount Carmel’s Anthony Chavez. And here’s how. ‘Block out all noise and just zone in.’

Mount Carmel’s Anthony Chavez felt like he was having a tough time putting setbacks behind him and moving on to the next opportunity.

So, as the sophomore infielder/pitcherprepped for his first varsity season this spring, he focused on fine-tuning his mind off the field.

“This past offseason, that was a big thing, looking into that,” Chavez said. “I was able to use stuff like meditation and reading for big moments where you can block out all noise and just zone in.”

He put that to good use Saturday morning.

Chavez shook off some bad at-bats and a rough pitching outing to deliver the winning RBI single in the eighth inning as the host Caravan topped De La Salle 6-5 in a Catholic League crossover game in Chicago.

Wisconsin-Stout recruit Kevin Zanin had two RBIs and Illinois commit Joey Ireland went 2-for-4 with an RBI double for Mount Carmel (4-5, 1-0 Catholic Blue). Nico Mullen and Southeastern Iowa recruit James Nydegger added RBIs.

Ian Tosi went 6 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out seven for the Caravan, while Jake Matise earned the win with three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Western Illinois recruit Kenny Perez finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs for De La Salle (5-6, 1-2 Catholic White). Francisco Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Angelo Chavarria had an RBI.

The Meteors rallied from a 5-0 deficit with five runs in the seventh, tying the game on Rodriguez’s RBI single and an error.

Chavez moved from first base to pitcher in the seventh and could not record an out, walking two and allowing a double. He was hoping for a chance at redemption at the plate.

“The whole inning, I was looking to come up and do something big for the team,” Chavez said. “I just have to work on the pitching side now, but it’s OK. We’ll work through it.

“It’s a good team family that we have this year.”

In the bottom of the eighth, Chavez came up with the bases loaded and two outs and ripped the game-winning single up the middle.

He was previously 0-for-3 and had struck out with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth.

“It was a struggle the first couple at-bats, but I knew I had it in me,” Chavez said. “I just had to tone it down 75% and work up the middle.

“The biggest thing is not letting the past mess up the future or the present and you just have to stay present.”

That’s something Chavez said meditation has helped him with.

“I just put on some meditation music, sit down in the dark and just relax and clear the mind,” he said. “When you’re up to bat, that’s kind of what you need. You need to be really Zen-focused.

“I think meditation is really good for you. Anyone can use it. It’s good to clear the mind.”

Ireland was impressed with Chavez’s composure.

“It just showed me that ‘Chavy’ is a dog,” Ireland said. “It showed me he’s still mentally tough.

“He didn’t let having not the greatest outing on the mound get to him or the bad at-bat his previous time at the plate. He pushed through it and he won the game for us. It was huge.”

In his first varsity season, Chavez is batting third in the order. His perseverance Saturday gave Mount Carmel coach Brian Hurry even more reason to have faith in Chavez in that spot.

“We always tell the players, ‘Don’t let the failure of one at-bat ruin the success of the next at-bat,’” Hurry said. “That’s easier said than done, though. This game’s a mental game.

“I’m very proud of him for staying in there and having that at-bat.”