Lemont's Sublette Brings Heat, Ices Joliet Catholic For Regional Title





By Sean Duncan

Executive Director

LEMONT, IL - Something about when Lemont and Joliet Catholic square off in the loaded Lemont Class 3A Regional final that brings out special pitching performances. From Sam Couch’s no-hitter to upend the state’s top pitching prospect, Jake Latz, in 2013, to  Lemont’s Garrett Acton out-dueling Drake Fellows, now a freshman at Vanderbilt, in 2015, the two powerhouse programs tend to bring out the best in each other.

With all the indelible performances delivered in the past, nothing compared to what senior RHP Ryan Sublette did on Saturday to lead No. 13 Lemont to a 3-0 victory over Joliet Catholic, inching the Indians a step closer to their third Class 3A state title in four years.

In fact, what Sublette did was one of the most impressive pitching performances that I have seen in 13 years of scouting Illinois high school baseball.

First, the game statistics: Sublette (8-1) threw a one-hit complete game with 10 strikeouts and one walk. Impressive, sure, but those type of results happen all the time in high school baseball. What you don’t see very often in high school baseball, however, is this:

Sublette, an athletically built 6-foot-3, 185-pound Texas Tech recruit, pitched the entire game at 92-94 mph with his two-seam fastball, dotting it at the knees to both sides of the plate with late arm-side finish. His final pitch during the 90-minute game was 94, on the black, with sink. Every fastball in the seventh was 93-94. Only two fastballs in the game - both in the sixth inning - dipped to 90 mph (yes, I gunned every pitch - kind of have to at that point, right?). Working exclusively out of the stretch, he touched 95 three times in the first couple innings. And he did all the above while pounding the strike zone and seemingly not over-exerting himself to do so.

“It felt pretty quick today,” said Sublette after the game. “There was a lot of people here, so I was amped up. … I didn’t think I was throwing that hard.”

The only hit Sublette yielded was in the fourth inning when the right-handed hitting Michael O’Brien slashed a 93-mph fastball down the first-base line for a double. While Sublette rightfully lived off his fastball, he started shuffling more 74-76 mph curveballs in the fifth inning, which resulted in consecutive strikeouts (both looking) to open the inning.

Sublette, who pitched a gem as a junior in the Class 3A state semifinal game to get Lemont to the championship, had one rough outing early in the spring against Providence. Since then, he’s kicked up his game to another level.

“He’s been lights out the last month, month and half,” said Lemont coach Brian Storako, whose team improved to 30-5.

With five state championships between the two programs and the close proximity of the schools, it was a packed crowd at Lemont. Squaring off against Sublette was Joliet Catholic ace Antonio Saldana (7-2), a hulking 6-foot-7 left-hander who pitched 87-89 mph, topping at 91, from a lower-3/4 slot.

Seemingly undaunted by Saldana’s running fastball, Lemont senior SS Dominic Connolly laced an 89-mph fastball up the middle to start the game, and Texas Tech-bound KC Simonich lined a 90-mph fastball the other way for a hit. Lemont pushed a run across in the first on, you betcha, Sublette’s RBI groundout to shortstop.

That was all Sublette needed, but in the third, Nate Madej dumped a two-out, two-run single over the first baseman’s head to make it 3-0.

Game over.

Joliet Catholic, which has an impressive group of underclassmen coming up the ranks, finished the season at 23-12-1.

For more detailed notes of the game - and much more - check out the Illinois Scout Blog later.

RELATED NEWS