Whenever Lyons Township and Oak Park meet on the baseball field, anything can happen. Saturday night’s doubleheader at Standard Bank Field in Crestwood was no exception as the West Suburban (Silver) Conference rivals battled late into the evening despite a scary injury to the Lions’ Chas Straface.
Lyons Township (17-6-1, 10-3) swept the highly anticipated twin-bill by scores of 9-6 in Game 1 and 3-2 in Game 2.
LT senior C.J. Esposito set the tone early in the opening game when he grooved a two-run single up the middle that sparked the Lions to a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
While Huskies starting pitcher Kyle Glancy (5-2) labored on the mound, Esposito (4-for-5, 5 RBIs) continued to apply the pressure via his red-hot bat by adding a two-run double in the second and a solo home run in the fourth.
“I’ve just been seeing the ball good lately,” Esposito said. “It was my third home run in the last three games, so obviously I’m happy with my hitting. I’m just glad to help out the team.”
Trailing 5-0, the Huskies (17-7, 11-3) roared back with four runs in the third inning to close within 5-4. Oak Park outfielder Mike Michon broke up Brian Lorenz’s no-hitter by smashing a sharp single to right. Andy Brashler added a single to right on a well executed hit and run.
With runners on the corners and no outs, Max Edwards stroked a single scoring Michon. After a walk to Sam Picchiotti loaded the bases, Mike Locasto grounded out to first which scored a run. Drew Golz then hit a sacrifice fly, and Joe Kelty added an RBI single.
Lorenz restored order when he fanned the Huskies’ Vince Lucchese to end the frame.
With the Lions holding a 6-4 lead in the fourth, LT had runners on first and second with no outs when Straface squared up to bunt. Luke McCleese, an Oak Park reliever, threw a fastball that may have ricocheted off Straface’s bat and hit the LT third baseman on the mouth. Coaches and athletic trainers tended to Straface for nearly an hour before he was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. Lyons head coach George Ushela said Straface underwent successful surgery to restore lost and damaged teeth.
The Lions tacked on three more runs in the fourth when play resumed, extending their lead to 9-4. Brian Zotti provided a clutch two-run single to spark the run.
The Huskies responded again with two runs of their own to pull within 9-6.
Lorenz (3-1) threw well for LT, allowing seven hits and fanning seven during a gutsy complete game effort. The Lions committed three costly errors in the fourth.
“The way we play defense, sometimes no lead is safe,” Ushela said. “It’s always good to be on top early in games.”
In the nightcap, Esposito (6-0) struck out nine over seven innings and Trefil hit a three-run triple in the fifth en route to the 3-1 victory.