No. 25 Lockport explodes in seventh to upend No. 10 Sandburg

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

ORLAND PARK – With one out in the top of the seventh, No. 10 Sandburg was seemingly on its way to a nice-and-tidy victory over No. 25 Lockport in a big Southwest Suburban Blue clash Monday.

Then the bottom fell out. Or Lockport’s bats came to life, depending on the point of view. Seven runs later, Lockport turned a 4-3 deficit into a 10-8 victory Monday at Sandburg.

In a game that featured six home runs, four long ones were launched in a never-ending seventh inning, the biggest blast being Lockport senior third baseman Doug Matthews’ grand slam that provided the Porters (10-5, 2-2) enough breathing room to survive a Sandburg (10-4, 2-3) rally in the bottom half.

Up until Lockport’s seventh-inning outburst, senior catcher Derek Bangert single-handedly kept the Porters in the game. The Heartland CC recruit blasted two solo home runs to left field to lead off the second and sixth innings. Ironically, it was Bangert’s bases-loaded squib single to the third baseman that broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh. For the game, Bangert finished 3-for-3 with three RBI and an intentional walk.

“After the first out in the seventh, the dugout was pretty down,” said Bangert, who has five homers on the season. “But I thought we had a good shot, we always have a chance to score runs.”

After Bangert’s swinging bunt, Matthews followed with his grand slam to left field. Matthews, an unsigned senior, finished 2-for-4 with five RBI. Senior left fielder Jeff Milas capped the scoring with a solo home run to left field.

All the scoring occurred after reliever Matthias Dietz retired his first batter in the seventh on one pitch. The next batter reached on a bad hop grounder to the first baseman. Then the floodgates opened.

“The game of baseball is hard to figure out,” said Lockport coach Andy Satunas. “With all the home runs, the two biggest plays didn’t leave the infield in the seventh. … We have a lot of respect for Sandburg. The win shows the kids have fight in them and they’re resilient.”

Ahh, but Sandburg did not go quietly in the bottom half of the seventh. The Eagles scored four runs behind a pair of two-run homers by Indiana-bound shortstop Austin Cangelosi (2-for-4, two runs, two RBI) and senior first baseman Alec Nelson, who went 2-for-3 and was beaned twice. Cangelosi’s shot was a taper-blast to near center field after he crushed one foul.

Lockport’s comeback ruined a solid start by junior right-hander Sean Leland, who yielded four hits – two of which were homers by Bangert – three runs, struck out three and walked two. SIU-Edwardsville-bound right-hander Evan Martens (3-0) pitched 6.2 innings to earn the victory for Lockport. Senior right-hander Connor Ryan got the final out of the game.

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