Prep Baseball Report

Lemont takes Regional Title over Lincoln-Way West

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

May 31, 2014

JOLIET, IL-  Lemont senior left-handed pitcher Jake Latz has been nearly perfect all season long, entering Saturday’s Regional Championship contest against Lincoln-Way West having not allowed an earned run all season.  While the Warriors would finally put a blemish on Latz’s ERA, the LSU-bound southpaw was close to perfect over the final four frames in a dominating performance in leading Lemont to a 5-2 victory at Joliet Catholic’s Gillespie Field.

Lincoln-Way West struck first in the second inning with one out as senior designated hitter Dan Laberry singled sharply to left.  Rising sophomore shortstop Adam Knerr lined a triple over the centerfielder’s head scoring Laberry.  Knerr scored on senior outfielder Jake Robbins’ groundball to short when Lemont senior catcher Mike Papierski could not corral the errant throw home.  Robbins stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Latz stranded him at third ending the inning and the threat with a strikeout and a ground out to first.

Down 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth, Lemont’s offense finally woke up against Lincoln-Way West’s senior relief ace Ben Francis.  A lead-off walk by Papierski and a bloop single by senior shortstop Mike Wisz put runners on first and second with no outs.  Franics balked runners to second and third, and walked senior first basemen Jake Terrazas to load the bases.  Papierski scored on a wild pitch moving runners to second and third, setting the stage for Nick Wisz, Mike’s younger brother and double play partner.  Nick singled sharply to center field scoring his brother and Terrazas, giving the Indians a 3-2 lead.

After regaining the lead, Latz settled down in the fourth through seventh innings and was nearly perfect.  “Jake wasn’t hitting his spots early, and getting the lead back giving him some support really took the pressure off”, said Lemont head coach Brian Storako.  In the final four frames, Latz allowed one base runner (on a walk) and did not allow a hit, while recording ten of the final twelve outs via strikeout.  His three pitch mix had Lincoln-Way West hitters confounded.  “Jake hasn’t had to go to his changeup that early all year, but it was really effective and he dominated after we got him the lead back”, Storako added.

Lemont added two insurance runs in the fifth thanks to the Wisz brothers once again.  Mike led off with a single past second base, and Terrazas singled to center with Wisz running on the play to give Lemont runners on first and third with no outs.  Nick Wisz hit a first pitch curveball hard up the middle to score his brother, and Terrazas scored on senior right fielder Eric Tucker’s RBI single up the middle.

Latz continued on cruise control, and thanks to a drop third strike on a breaking ball down in the zone, struck out the final four hitters in the final frame.  He finished with 13 strikeouts, 4 hits allowed (none after the third), with one walk and one hit batsman.  The LSU bound lefty could be a steal in the middle rounds of next week’s June MLB draft.

Storako added, “I can’t say enough about Nick Wisz.  He’s stepped up as a sophomore on a senior led team.  Being down 2-0 the guys in the dugout who don’t play kept us up and in it as well.  I tell our guys all the time that baseball, like life, is a game of adversity and you can never get to high or too low.  We stayed upbeat all around, and when we gave Jake (Latz) a cushion he ran with it”.

Lemont improves to 30-5 on the year, awaiting the winner of the Bremen Regional at 4 pm on Thursday June 5th in the Lincoln-Way West Sectional opener.  Lincoln-Way West ends a banner season at 30-7.

Key Stats

+ Jake Latz, Lemont: CG, 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 13 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP

+ Nick Wisz, Lemont: 2-for-3, 2 1B, 3 RBI

+ Mike Wisz, Lemont: 3-for-4, 3 1B, 2 R, RBI

+ Mike Papierski, Lemont: 1-for-2, 1B, R, 2BB

+ Jake Terrazas, Lemont: 1-for-1, 1B, 2 R, 2 BB   

 + Dan Laberry, Lincoln-Way West: 1-for-3, 1B, 1R

+ Adam Knerr, Lincoln-Way West: 1-for-3, 3B, 1 R, RBI

+ Jake Robbins, Lincoln-Way West: RBI

+ Luke Morgan, Lincoln-Way West: 1-for-3, 1B