No. 22 Lemont gambles and wins over Lincoln-Way West



By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

LEMONT, IL - First-year Lemont coach Brian Storako rolled the dice when he decided to hold his junior ace left-hander Jake Latz for Saturday’s Class 3A regional championship game against perennial power Joliet Catholic Academy.

A risky proposition, indeed, for Storako and his No. 22-ranked club, given they first had to get through a tough Lincoln-Way West team – the same Lincoln-Way West team that shocked Joliet Catholic in the playoffs last year.

Storako’s gamble paid off, as Lemont easily handled Lincoln-Way West, 9-1, on a frigid Thursday afternoon in a ridiculously matched Lemont Regional semifinal game between two of the state’s top Class 3A teams. Latz, an LSU recruit who’s one of the premier 2014 prospects in the Midwest, will face Joliet Catholic on Saturday.

Thursday’s result, however, was a lot closer than the final score indicated. Lemont (23-6) held a narrow 1-0 advantage through four innings before the Indians erupted for four runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings to pull away.

Lincoln-Way West (21-12) sophomore right-hander Steven Skolarz did a solid job of holding down Lemont before the Indians broke out in the fifth, with the help of hop. After Latz (1-for-2, 2 walks, RBI) ripped an RBI double and junior first baseman Jake Terrazas (3-for-4, 3 RBI) followed with a run-scoring single, an infield hit and a dropped pop up loaded up the bases again. Senior catcher Billy Hayes appeared to have grounded into a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play to get Skolarz out of the jam, but at the last second the ball rocketed over shortstop Luke Morgan’s shoulder to score two more runs.

Hayes, who’s signed at Mesa CC, finished 3-for-3 with two RBI and a walk, and LSU commit Michael Papierski added a run-scoring single in the first inning and scored two runs.

Junior left-hander Charlie Wright made Storako look like a genius, as 5-foot-9, 150-pounder kept Lincoln-Way West off-balance all game with a steady mix of slurves and fastballs. Wright yielded five hits with six strikeouts – three coming in the first – with two walks in 5.2 innings. Senior left-hander Cody Caballero got the final four outs to nail down the victory.

Morgan, who’s one of the top 2014 prospects in Illinois, went 2-for-2 with a walk for West, and Webster-bound third baseman Connor Hogan added two hits and drove in in the Warriors’ lone run in the sixth.

Lincoln-Way West also threatened in the fifth inning, but junior second baseman Mike Wisz made a stellar diving play with the bases loaded and fired to first to rob junior Jake Robbins of likely two RBI and end the inning.

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