To say the Lions Township baseball team is on a tear would be an understatement. The red-hot Lions, (9-1, 5-0 West Suburban [Silver] Conference) outscored their opponents 58-4 last week en route to five comfortable wins. With the exception of a flat loss to Naperville Central, LT has been crushing the competition.
“We’re pretty pleased with our progress,” LT coach George Ushela said. “Our pitchers are throwing strikes and competing well. Defensively, we’re not making a lot of errors and our own hitters have cut down on their strikeouts.”
However, with a doubleheader conference showdown looming against annual rival Oak Park on Saturday, Ushela knows the season is still young with competition on the upswing.
“We faced some decent pitchers [last week], but I’m eager to see how we do against Oak Park,” Ushela said. “It’s a good rivalry and the games are always hard-fought.”
The Lions tuned up for their impending conference series with several solid victories last week, including a doubleheader sweep of Proviso West on Saturday, 14-2 and 14-0. In Game One, Penn-bound Connor Cuff (3-0) tossed a gem allowing one hit and striking out eight in four innings. Steve Heilenbach cranked a two-run homer and Mike Pett went 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs.
“Connor threw a terrific game,” Ushela said. “Our entire pitching staff has been solid this season. We have some nice depth with four or five quality starters.”
In the second game, Heilenbach and Jack Peth combined to throw a no-hitter against the Panthers. Dan Zehe (2-for-3, 2 RBIs), Pat Dillon and Brian Rodemoyer all slugged run-scoring triples to break open the game. Brian Kelley also went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Behind the strong pitching of Matt Robare (four scoreless innings, one hit allowed), the host Lions also coasted to an 11-0 victory over Morton last week. Spencer Mahoney, Heilenbach, Cuff and rising sophomore star Keith Lehmann all hit safely in the first inning to give LT a 2-0 lead. The Lions tacked on four runs in the second en route to the five-inning decision.
On April 6, LT beat Wheaton-Warrenville South 13-2 ignited by a costly error from the Tigers with the bases loaded in the first inning. Lehmann (2-for-4, 5 RBIs) added a three-run homer to seal the deal for LT. He also earned the victory on the mound, giving up four hits and fanning eight hitters.
The Lions opened their perfect week with a 6-0 victory against Glenbard West. The win completed a series sweep for LT over the Hilltoppers. Winning pitcher Zach Remigas (2-0) went the distance with a four-hit shutout.
At 5-0, the Lions are in sole possession of first place in the Silver Division with Hinsdale Central, York and Oak Park all in pursuit.