Prep Baseball Report

IHSBCA summer state Final Four is set

By Drake Skleba

NAPERVILLE – Perennial powers St. Laurence, Joliet Catholic Academy, Lyons Township and up-and-comerJacobs, all advanced to the 2012 IHSBCA/Phil Lawler Summer State Tournament Final 4. The 2012 Final 4 is one of the strongest groups of semifinalists in the 37-year history of the tournament.

At 10 a.m. on Thursday, Chicago Catholic League Blue power St. Laurence (19-2) will meet East Suburban Catholic Conference heavyweight Joliet Catholic Academy (19-3) in the first semifinal at Benedictine University in Lisle.

The two parochial giants put on a show near the end of the regular season this spring. The Vikings and the Hilltoppers battled to a 2-2 tie through 11 innings at Viking Field in Burbank. In a state-championship-caliber game, the contest was called due to darkness.

As JCA senior PBR All-State shortstop Chris Tschida told me after the Hilltoppers’ win over Maine South on Wednesday, “Let’s start the game tomorrow in the top of the 12th and go from there.”

At 12:30, West Suburban Silver powerhouse Lyons Township (30-4-1) will meet

Jacobs (26-3-1) in the second semifinal in Lisle.

The semifinal winners will come back to Lisle at 7 and play for the Phil Lawler Memorial State Championship trophy.

If you can’t make it out to Benedictine University tomorrow you can watch all three games LIVE on   I will have the play-by-play for all the action in Lisle.

Lyons Township 2, Maine South 1

At North Central College in Naperville on Wednesday morning, Lyons Township slipped past Maine South 2-1. Lyons Township’s first-team All-State 3B/RHP Keith Lehmann’s clutch two-run double erased a 1-0 Maine South lead in the top of the sixth to lead the Lions to victory.

A great pitchers’ duel developed between Maine South senior RHP Jack Touhy and Lyons Township’s Alex Vannucci. Maine South broke the scoreless battle in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single from senior LF Bobby Pennington (2-for-3, RBI).

Touhy blanked the hard-hitting Lions until the sixth. Lion No 9 hitter Matt Aikens led off the inning with a single, only the second hit Touhy had allowed. Aikens was forced at second on a grounder off the bat of Lion senior SS Stewart Nelson. Nelson stole second and Touhy walked Lion senior Mike Lorenz.

Lehmann crushed a Touhy fastball to the wall in left, plating Stewart and Lorenz for a 2-1 Lions lead.

“Alex pitched an outstanding game for us. Alex is a great competitor and a great teammate,” said Lehmann. “In the sixth, I had a couple of men on and I figured I had to get the job done and get the runners in. I choked-up a little and hit the ball hard and things worked out.”

Vannucci was magnificent on the mound for LT. With a wicked curveball the senior lefty fired a two-hit masterpiece with eight strikeouts.

“My defense played great for me,” said Vannucci. “My catcher, Kyle Dilcher, blocked everything in the dirt and I really felt good on the mound. I really had my curveball breaking today. I spotted my fastball as well. … It’s very exciting to be heading to the semis. Hopefully we can pick up a couple of wins tomorrow and win the championship.”

“Alex pitched an outstanding game for us today,” said Lyons Township head coach George Ushela. “In fact both pitchers, Alex and Jack Touhy, pitched very well. Keith came up with the big hit for us. We really played well today.”

Jacobs 4, Montini 2

Jacobs (26-3-1) avenged a first-round defeat at the hands of Montini, rallying past the Broncos 4-2 at Benedictine University. Having lost to Montini 5-1 in the tournament opener at North Central College on Monday, the Golden Eagles were out for revenge.

Trailing Montini 2-1 after four innings, the Golden Eagles rallied for three runs in the top of the fifth. Golden Eagle senior Ben Murray, crushed an RBI double to tie the game at 2-2.  Senior SS Kenny Finn followed with an RBI single for a 3-2 Golden Eagle lead. Jacobs would another run in the inning on a Montini miscue to complete the scoring.

Jacobs will meet Lyons Township in the second semifinal at 12:30 on Thursday.

Joliet Catholic Academy 7, Maine South 5

Joliet Catholic Academy (19-3) spotted Maine South a 3-0 lead after a half an inning, scored the next seven runs in the game and then had to withstand a furious seventh-inning rally to survive and advance with a 7-5 win at North Central College on Wednesday.

Joliet Catholic starting and winning pitcher senior Sam Couch allowed three unearned runs to Maine South in the first inning. Two Hilltopper errors allowed the Hawks to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Hawk senior RHP Bobby Pennington and senior 1B Adam Depkon, had RBI in the three-run Hawk first.

Tshida plated the first of his three RBI, in the bottom of the first on a sac-fly. The Hilltoppers closed to 3-2 on the first of six Hilltopper two-out RBI, on a double from senior leadoffman Brock Pluth (2-for-3, 2B, RBI).

Hilltopper senior C Alex Voitik came through with the first of his two, two-out RBI singles which tied the game at 3-3.

“We fell behind 3-0 but everyone’s spirts remained high and we came back for a big win,” said Voitik. “I did pretty well today. Saw the ball well my last two at bats and I did my job getting a pair of clutch hits. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s game with Laurence. I play with a couple of those kids on my traveling team. It’s going to be a war.”

JCA broke the game open with a four-run sixth, scoring all four runs after two outs. Hillltopper sophomore Nick Dalesandro (2-for-4, RBI) singled home the first run of the inning for a 4-3 Hilltopper lead.

“Sam pitched a real good game for us,” said Dalesandro. “I just did what I had to do to help us get the “W”. We want to come back tomorrow and win it all.”

Tschida ripped a two-run single to increase the lead to 6-3 and Voitik finished the Hilltopper assault with his second two-out, RBI single.

“We really grinded out a victory,” said Tschida. The never-say-die Hawks mounted a seventh-inning uprising in the top of the seventh. Hawk sophomore SS Caleb de Marigny singled to leadoff the inning.

Junior CF Gehrig Parker (1-for-1, 2B, 2R, 3BB) walked which finished the day for Couch. Hilltopper senior RHP Cal Placher relieved Couch and struck out the first batter he faced on three pitches.

Senior Jesus Saveedra walked to load the bases. Hawk pinch-hitter junior Marty Balow laced an RBI single to bring the Hawks within 7-4. Placher plunked Pennington forcing in another run. Bases loaded, one out and Placher reared back and fanned the final two Hawk hitters to preserve the JCA victory. Hilltopper pitchers struck out 14 Hawk batsman; 11 by Couch and three by Placher.

“It’s been a long summer and the kids have played really well,” said Hilltopper head coach Jared Voss. “The top of order has performed very well this summer. The reason we are here is because of our pitching. Sam pitched another great game for us.”

Maine South closes out another successful summer run for Hawk head coach Bill Milano. The powerhouse Hawk football team put their baseball brethren behind the old eight-ball today. Facing state powers Lyons Township and Joliet Catholic Academy, three Hawk starters were playing for the Hawks football team in a 7-on-7 tournament at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

St. Laurence 13, Montini 3

The Vikings bounced back from their sub-par performance on Monday and overwhelmed tournament Cinderella Montini 13-3 in five-innings. Viking senior RHP Zach Lewis went the distance for St. Laurence to pick-up the complete-game win on the mound. 

The Viking bats exploded for 13 hits in the game. Leading 1-0, the Vikes put the game away with a six-run explosion against Montini ace Ben Dobosenski. Viking senior Kyle Estand had a big two-RBI single to highlight the inning.

Fall Prospect Program Slide NEW 2012