Prep Baseball Report

No. 9 Lockport "Steals" Victory from No. 17 Lemont 5-4

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

LOCKPORT, IL – Aggressive base running lifted No. 9 Lockport over No. 17 Lemont 5-4 on Monday night at Ed Flink Field as the Porters stole six bases. Lockport won in walk-off fashion on a one-out ground ball to shortstop off the bat of senior designated hitter Tyler Nassar with runners on second at third base.

Lockport senior shortstop Tyler Hair (Northern State signee) led off the inning with a walk, and sophomore first baseman Josh Baker was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. After a failed sacrifice bunt attempt resulting in an eventual strikeout, Hair took things into his own hands by stealing third base, a bang-bang play at third. Lemont senior shortstop Mike Gralla fielded Nassar’s ground ball cleanly and fired a strike to home plate, but Hair hustled home and narrowly avoided the tag at the plate, a call that ultimately could have went either way giving Lockport a hard fought victory.

The game sea-sawed back and forth early with Lockport taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a home run to right centerfield by senior catcher Ben Wishba (North Central College signee). Lemont tied it at one in the top of the third with a little of their own aggressive base running, as junior third baseman Austin Tittle stole home on a first-and-third, perfectly executed double steal.

Lockport took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third thanks to an RBI single to left field by Hair, scoring senior outfielder Davis Purviance, who singled and stole second to get into scoring position. Lemont sophomore starting pitcher Ryan Sublette, ranked No. 9 overall in Illinois in PBR’s 2017 class wiggled out of a bases loaded jam later in the inning with a swinging strikeout on an 87 mph fastball. Sublette threw three innings allowing two earned runs, with five strikeouts and two walks in his first appearance of the year, an eventual no decision.

Lemont struck back in the top half of the fourth tying the game at two with more aggressive base running. Lemont first baseman Casey O’Brien reached third base on a two-base throwing error, and a passed ball. Lockport senior righthander Jordan Johnston (Marshall signee) struck out the next hitter with a curveball in the dirt, and O’Brien tied the score racing home on the Wishba’s throw to first base. Like Sublette in the previous frame, Johnston made a key pitch when he had to, rolling a double play ball later in the inning up the middle to Hair to avoid an further damage with the bases loaded. Johnston allowed two runs (one earned) in his four innings of work on two hits with four strikeouts and five walks.

Lockport coach Andy Satunas said, “Today was Jordan’s first official IHSA start (he missed the 2014 campaign with a broken ankle) and although he was sporadic at times, he really came up big in pressure situations. We look forward to him continuing to get better as the season progresses”.

Lemont took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth on a line drive RBI single over the shortstop into left center off the bat of junior designated hitter Garret Acton (known more for his low 90’s fastball on the mound). Acton’s RBI scored junior third baseman/first baseman Nick Wisz (2-for-3, single, double, hit by pitch, two runs scored), who doubled to deep centerfield.

Lockport tied the game in the bottom of the fifth as Purviance (2-for-3, single, double, two runs scored) doubled to right center and Baker singled hard up the middle to knot the score at three. The Porters took the lead in the sixth with more aggressive base running. Senior left fielder Tony Anaya was hit by a pitch, then promptly stole second and third base. After sophomore third baseman Gavin Lovesky reached first on a walk, Satunas ran a walk-off play after the catcher threw the ball back to Lemont righthander Austin Tittle. Lovesky walked into no-man’s land between first and second, and was called out for being outside of the baseline in the ensuing run down. Amidst the confusion Anaya broke for home, giving the Porters a 4-3 lead.

Lemont tied the game at four on a bases loaded walk by sophomore centerfielder Dom Connolly in the top half of the seventh scoring Wisz, setting the stage for Lockport’s bottom of the seventh walk-off. Lovesky, who entered the game in relief in the seventh, earned the win for Lockport with a huge two-out, bases loaded strikeout to end the Indians threat. Alex Musarevski took the loss for Lemont.

Satunas added about the Porters’ aggressive base running style, “we have been working to take advantage of our athleticism as a team. We know we are in store for some dogfights with the upcoming schedule, and runs will be at a premium, so it puts pressure on the opposition.”

Lockport improves to 2-0 on the year, and takes on No. 15 Providence on Tuesday, with No. 1 Joliet Catholic waiting in Thursday’s WJOL Tournament opener at Joliet Catholic. Lemont drops to 0-2 with No. 3 Mount Carmel visiting on Thursday.

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