No. 1 Lyons, Sandburg pitch to tie after 11

By Sean Duncan

LA GRANGE - First things first: No. 1 Lyons Township and Sandburg played to a 3-3 through 11 innings before the nonconference game was called for darkness Wednesday. Yes, ties stink – especially during such an exciting, well-pitched game against two perennial state powers.

Since there was no winner or loser, let’s get to the meat of the game: the players.

It’s a shame neither starting pitcher earned a victory, because both junior RHP Keith Lehmann of Lyons and Sandburg senior LHP Matt Farrington certainly deserved it.

  • Lehmann showed why he is currently the No. 5-ranked Class of 2013 prospect in Illinois. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder pitched nine innings, allowing one earned run and seven hits while striking out 12 and walking none. Lehmann held his 86-88 mph velocity throughout all nine innings. Just as impressively, he also showed pinpoint control with his sharp 71-73 mph curveball that baffled Sandburg (1-0-1) for most of the game. Lehmann carried a 1-0 lead into the top of the seventh before the Eagles tied the game, sparked by a misplayed fly ball to right field that went for an asterisked double. Offensively, Lehmann had two hits, including a game-tying RBI double in the bottom of the eighth with two outs and two strikes, making it 2-2.
  • Sandburg starting pitcher Matt Farrington shined as well. The 6-foot, 170-pound unsigned senior worked seven innings, allowing one run, three hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. Using an 81-83 mph fastball with arm-side life and an effective breaking ball, Farrington had his shutout bid ended in the fourth inning on Brad Taylor’s run-scoring double.
  • Sandburg sophomore right-hander Bryan Pall was one of the game’s biggest revelations. The 6-foot Pall, making his first varsity appearance, came into the eighth pumping 83-86 mph fastballs and a dirty 78-80 mph slider (that’s right) that gave Lyons (3-0-1) fits. In Pall’s four innings, he struck out seven, walked one and allowed two runs.
  • Offensively, Sandburg was led by left-handed hitting 3B Zach Reks. The Air Force recruit went 4-for-5, including an opposite-field home run in the eighth to give Sandburg a brief 2-1 advantage. Reks also contributed a double in the 10th inning.
  • Sandburg junior SS Austin Cangelosi was also a standout. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound athlete looks to be one of the premier middle infield prospects in the Class of 2013. Not only did he take a sterling pregame, and make all the plays during the game, but he’s extremely athletic in the box. Cangelosi finished with two hits, the critical one coming in the form of a run-scoring double in the 11th inning.
  • Lyons Township unsigned senior catcher Brad Taylor was the unquestioned offensive hero for the Lions. Taylor went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. In the fourth inning, his run-scoring double gave the Lions a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the 11th, his one-out double, followed by Stewert Nelson’s double, tied the game at 3-3.

By then, the sun had gone down, the temperatures had plummeted, and this guy was late for dinner.

(Editor’s Note: The wife was not very happy … and she really didn’t care about how good the pitching was.)