No. 21 Sandburg, Pall blank No. 1 Lyons Township

By Drake Skleba
Senior Writer

WESTERN SPRINGS – No 21 Sandburg opened up its 2013 season in style by stunning No. 1 Lyons Township 5-0 on Wednesday. The game was originally scheduled to be played at Sandburg, but due to unplayable field conditions in Orland Park, the game was moved to Western Springs.

Sandburg’s University of Michigan-bound junior RHP Bryan Pall (1-0) loaded the bases in the LT first inning. Pall (1-0) was able to pitch out of that mess and went on to dominate the hard-hitting Lions over the next five innings. Pall allowed just three hits and struck out six.

“Today was the first time this season I was able to pitch outside,” said Pall. “It was a little weird in the first inning and then I settled in and did well. We played a great game against great team tonight. Our hitters were awesome. It was great to take down No. 1.”

Pall and Lyons Township LHP Alex Vannucci each put three zeros on the scoreboard in the first three innings. In the Eagle fourth, Vannucci (0-1) plunked Eagle second baseman Dave Cronin for the second straight at-bat to lead off the inning. Alec Nelson singled and Pall’s batterymate, catcher Matt Shimonis, doubled home Cronin for the first run of the game. Later in the inning Eagle LF Adam Zehme’s sac-fly made it 2-0.

“Great way to open up the season,” said Shimonis. “We worked really hard in the off-season with our hitting and it really paid off today.”

In the fifth, the Eagles scored three times to break open the game. Cronin and Nelson had RBI singles in the inning. Shimonis picked up another RBI on a force-play to extend the Eagle lead to 5-0.

“Bryan pitched a great game for us and we made all the plays,” said Nelson. “I was looking for a couple of fastballs and hit the ball hard today. It’s nice to beat the No. 1 team but it’s so early. We have to just work on improving each game.”

Lyons Township (1-1) was led by Evansville-bound shortstop Stewart Nelson and University of Michigan-bound Keith Lehmann, who had singles in the first inning against Pall. Senior Tom Prescott picked up the other Lion hit.

“This is the first time we played on a full field this spring. We practiced at home in the outfield,” said Sandburg head coach Jim Morsovillo. “Bryan was dominating today after the rough first inning. Shims (Shimonis) has really worked hard on his hitting and I am happy for him. Matt did a great job behind the plate as well.”

Lyons Township (1-1) will host No. 7 Naperville Central on Thursday at 11.

“We’re not in panic mode,” said Lyons Township newly-inducted IHSBCA Hall of Fame coach George Ushela. “We competed today against a very good program. Alex Vannucci pitched well for us and we hit the ball hard in the early innings. We just couldn’t get the big hit.”