This just could be Lyon Township’s year.
After tying Oak Park for first last season in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference, Lyons Township (35-4, 15-3) will be a force to be reckoned with yet again this year. The formidable LT lineup is solid from top to bottom, but no where is LT stronger than on the mound. The Lions boast 12 pitchers, nine of which have seasoned varsity arms.
“We don’t have any glaring weaknesses this season and I think we have a good combination of righties and lefties both in our batting order and on the mound,” said LT coach George Ushela. “But I feel especially good about our pitchers. We really are lucky to have such a large amount of quality pitching.”
All-Conference senior Dan Weston definitely qualifies as one of those “quality” pitchers after posting a 9-1 record on the mound and a vicious 1.5 ERA last season. The lefty also batted .355 and had three homers. Ushela also has senior Kyle Corcoran returning to the mound after going a perfect 7-0 last year with a 1.92 ERA. All-Conference second baseman Brian Dunne returns to the LT lineup after hitting .365 last season. Junior Casey McMurray (.358, 6 HR) will also return to right field and will again be looked at to bolster the Lions’ offense. Senior Justin Birks returns to his post behind the dish and will once again threaten any base-runners with his “gun of an arm,” according to Ushela.
Though much of the LT lineup is secure, there are still some positions up for grabs. It will be up to seniors Andy Cannon, Alex Larson, Brian Dunne, Ryan Booth, Anthony Genna, Brad Hilbrich, James Murrey, Jack Holden, Andy Tapachkevich, Mike Bellisariok, Alex Hawley and juniors Alex Georges, Josh Heller, Luke Gacek, Jack Easley, Mark Hochberg, Mike Dimaggio, Kyle Thele, Grant Filipitch, Mike Peth, Dan Niemiec to vie for the open spots. Sophomores Eddie Viliunas and Brian Lorenz round out the LT ballclub this season.
“We are deep in a lot of positions, but there are still some question marks,” Ushela said. “I am not sure who else will step up at this point. We are still working on the lineups, so there is room for movement.”
Despite the rosy outlook, the Lions will definitely have their work cut out for them. And even though their pitching staff is undeniably formidable, the rest of the conference will do its best to test LT’s arms. Ushela believes that Hinsdale Central and Glenbard West and of course, Oak Park, will be the three biggest roadblocks. The fact that LT will play a three-game series with each team in the conference this season is a double-edged sword?”it will be difficult for the Lions to claim the conference championship, but it also prepares them for the State tourney, according to Ushela.
“Our goals this year are pretty simple,” he said. “We would like to win the conference again and make a good run in the tournament. We want to play consistent baseball and not beat ourselves, if we can do that we should be successful.”