LTHS senior pitcher Grant Leader, who has committed to Illinois, went 5-1 with a 0.65 ERA in 2018. (File photo)

The Lyons Township High School baseball team has an abundance of the most valuable commodity in baseball: pitching. The Lions (24-5, 15-3 West Suburban Silver in 2018) boasted a 1.48 earned run average as West Suburban Conference Silver Division champs last season.

“Our goals this year are to win the conference again and a regional championship,” coach Kevin Diete said. “I think the LT baseball tradition will continue with pitching and defense as the strongest aspects of our team. Our 1-2 punch of [Grant] Leader and [Matt] Piento last year made us very successful. Hopefully, the additions of Michael Walsh [elbow injury in 2018] and a couple of other junior pitchers will make us even better.”

Leader is one of the best pitchers in the state. The University of Illinois commit went 5-1 with a 0.65 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 43 innings pitched last season. He was an all-conference pick last year and the West Suburban Silver Pitcher of the Year in 2017.

Piento, a Lewis University recruit, excelled on the mound as well with a 3-0 record, save, 1.25 ERA and 54 punchouts in 28 innings pitched.

Walsh projects as the third starter, with Nic Hughes (.76 ERA, 28 strikeouts in 27 innings) in the mix as another high-end arm. Hughes, who also hit .303 with eight RBIs in just 33 at-bats last season, will play first base as well.

Juniors Brendan Lawry, Andrew Gatland and Eric Steensma are all being considered in relief roles. When not on the mound, Lawry is a first baseman and the other two are versatile infielders.

Senior catcher Bryce Moskiewicz and senior outfielder Jack Ferraro are some of the Lions’ top returners offensively. Moskiewicz, who played running back on the football team, batted .338 with four doubles, 15 RBIs and 17 runs scored in 2018. He will play college baseball at Pittsburgh. The Triton-bound Ferraro had a .302 batting average with nine doubles, 18 RBIs.

“We’re looking to improve on our offensive numbers to combine for a better team effort in achieving more success,” Diete said. “We have a lot of talented juniors on the rise who can hopefully give us a boost on both offense and defense.”

Juniors include utility player/catcher Danny Machaj, infielder/outfielder Jack Weston, infielder Thomas Remijas and outfielder Jack Hammond are solid additions to the varsity.

The Lions are off to a 2-0 start with shutout victories against Brother Rice and St. Charles East. 

LTHS Lions

Head coach: Kevin Diete

Top players: Grant Leader (Sr.), P; Matt Piento (Sr.), P; Bryce Moskiewicz (Sr.), C; Jack Ferraro (Sr.), OF; Nic Hughes (Sr.), P/1B

Newcomers: Brendan Lawry (Jr.), P/1B; Danny Machaj (Jr.), C/Utility

Outlook: If the Lions produce enough consistent offense, repeating as conference champs and going on a run in the Class 4A state playoffs is possible.