It was a banner weekend for the Lyons Township baseball team.
Not only did the Lions manhandle Oak Park and River Forest in both games of a doubleheader last week, they also earned some very important breathing room in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference championship race. The Lions (9-2 overall, 5-0 WSC) run-ruled the Huskies 11-1 in five innings in the first game and rolled to a 14-5 win in the second game. The LT hitters were en fuego, wrapping out 14 hits in Game 1 and 13 in Game 2 against the beleaguered Huskie pitching staff. In the first game, every Lion batter in the lineup recorded at least one hit.
In the first game, the score was deadlocked until the third inning, when the Lions broke out their bats in a big way. Mark Hochberg got things rolling with a double, and then with one out Mike Bellisario walked. Brian Dunne then hit a scorching line drive three-run homer to open the floodgates. Casey McMurray next singled and Dan Weston then tripled to keep the inning going, eventually scoring on a wild pitch. Grant Fillipitch then singled to score McMurray, stretching the Lions lead to 5-0.
LT notched three more runs in the fourth inning when Luke Gacek started the rally with a one-out single. Dunne was then hit by a pitch, followed by an RBI single by McMurray. Weston then singled to right, which was misplayed, enabling the third run to score for an 8-0 LT lead. Oak Park answered with one run in the top of the fifth, but the Lions scored three more in the bottom of the inning to end the game. McMurray (.444 BA) led the Lions at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
“We had timely hitting and we hit the ball well,” said LT coach George Ushela. “The first two innings it was 0-0 and the bottom of the third things began to happen fast. We have a lot of confidence in our team, but I was glad that we ended it when we did, because (Oak Park) is capable of coming back on you.”
The Lions were bolstered by a solid outing by senior pitcher Kyle Corcoran, improving his record 2-0 overall and keeping his impressive 1.84 ERA intact. It doesn’t hurt that Corcoran had the support of Fillipitch, who is currently hitting a blistering .500.
In the second game, the Lions once again drew first blood. LT scored three in the first, seven in the third, and four in the sixth to roll to the 14-5 victory. Ushela was especially pleased with the way his ballclub responded after the Huskies rattled off four runs in the fifth, thanks to super-substitute Jack Holden cracking a grand slam in the sixth.
“They really were getting some momentum, but we came back with four in the sixth,” Ushela said. “We were up 10-1 and they came back 10-5, then Holden hit the grand slam. That really took any momentum they had started gathering and closed the door on that.”
Also, Weston turned in a great outing for LT on the mound, improving to 3-0 and keeping his ERA at a ridiculously low .37. Weston recorded eight strike-outs and kept the Huskies guessing all day with his fastball, curve and changeup.
The Lions went for the sweep on Tuesday (after deadline). They travel to Proviso West on Saturday (11 a.m.).