No. 1 Lyons holds off fiesty Reavis

By Drake Skleba

WESTERN SPRINGSDefending Class 4A Champion Lyons Township (3-0) trailed a feisty bunch of Rams from Reavis 3-1 as Monday’s nonconference affair headed to the bottom of the fifth. The Lions plated a pair to tie things up in the fifth. Benefitting from some Ram miscues and a monster blast over the left field fence by Illinois State-bound Steve Heilenbach, the PBR’s top-ranked team led 6-3 after six.

Reavis (2-4) scored a run in the seventh and had the tying runs on base before finally succumbing to LT starting and winning pitcher Matt Robare (1-0), as LT held on for a 6-4 win.

Reavis picked up a pair of unearned runs against Robare in the first two innings as the Lions’ defense was anything but stellar. Robare cut the Ram lead in half when he came through with an RBI single in the second.

Reavis senior RF David Beltran (3-for-3, HR, SF, 2RBI) launched his second round-tripper of the season to give the Rams a 3-1 lead in the top of the fifth.

LT tied things up in the bottom half of the fifth on a wild pitch and a game-tying single by senior C Brad Taylor. 

“It was real nice to win this game,” said Taylor. “It was great to come back the way we did. Matt (Robare) battled until the end for us. I just wanted to come through and tie the game with the big hit.”

Lyons scored the lead run in the bottom of the sixth on a Reavis throwing error and a wild pitch. Heilenbach gave the Lions a big insurance run when the future Redbird went deep for his first hit of the season. The Lions added another unearned run to take a 6-3 into the top of the seventh.

“We came out slow today but we came back and won,” said Heilenbach. “Obviously, having my first hit of the season being a home run was great. Hopefully, I can keep it going.”

Robare battled some shaky Lion defense and a very questionable strike zone behind the plate to fire a gutsy complete-game victory. Robare allowed just two earned runs and had nine strikeouts in his first outing of the year.

“I definitely didn’t have my best stuff tonight, but Reavis is a good team and really battled out there,” said Robare. “I helped myself with the hit in the second. I’ll take that anytime.”  

Lion junior Keith Lehmann was on base four times, with a single, two walks and HBP.

“I am happy we were able to get it together and win this game,” said Lehmann. “Matt Robare battled on the mound for us and Brad Taylor got a big hit.”

Reavis received four innings of one-run, one-hit baseball from senior RHP Zack Mackowiak

“We are just so close,” said Reavis coach Don Ericson. “We battled right to the end. We just have to win one of these close games to give us the confidence to get on a roll.”

The top-ranked Lions will host the Sandburg Eagles in Western Springs on Wednesday at 4:30.

“Matt Robare really battled against a lot of obstacles tonight and pitched well for us,” said Lyons Township coach George Ushela. “We have a lot of work to do but this was a nice come-from-behind win for us. Tell Sean (Duncan) we are not quite there yet as far as being the best team in the state.”