Lyons Township High School junior catcher Tess Meyer may have started out as a pitcher, but she easily prefers putting on the catching gear.
“Catching seemed so much more fun,” Meyer said. “I grew up with three older brothers so I loved being dirty. When I was in the dirt, blocking balls, oh my God, I loved it. It’s my favorite thing, framing and blocking.”
The third-year starter continues shining for the Lions in many ways. In West Suburban Conference Silver action May 4, Meyer was 2 for 3 with a home run and four runs batted in as the Lions won 21-6 at Glenbard West in five innings.
Makenna Kotor (double, 4 RBIs) and Analie Tumminaro (2 RBIs) had three-hit games for the Lions (11-1, 4-1 in WSC Silver). Emily Joseph (2 RBIs), winning pitcher Lily Hanafin and Peyton O’Flaherty had two hits each.
Meyer (.361, 2 HR, 13 RBIs) joins Kotor (.467, 15 RBIs), Joseph (.439, 4 HR, 15 RBIs) and Ava Paganis (.351, 2 HR, 13 RBIs) among the offensive leaders.
“Mentally I think I’m a lot more confident [as a junior],” Meyer said. “Probably on the field, communication is the most important part. When I was first on the team, I was nervous about that but I few so much with being able to use my voice.”
Meyer credits LTHS coach Nicole Paluch with helping the transition to varsity catching. With Hanafin a fourth-year varsity starter, it’s given the Lions a veteran battery.
“I know completely how she’s feeling. We have a bond,” Meyer said. “I know when she needs a break or I need to talk to her, calm her down. It’s a really strong connection.”
“She’s literally a brick wall,” Paluch said of Meyer. “Her arm. We know she has a good chance of throwing (runners) out. We all know Lily throws a great drop ball. It’s a huge, huge difference having a catcher like that to block that pitch. [They] have kind of build that confidence and relationship together.”
The Lions (14-8, 9-6 in WSC Silver) beat Oak Park and River Forest 9-3 on May 4 while losing to the Huskies 9-6 on May 7 and 5-3 on May 2.
Jack McNamara was 3 for 3 with two doubles and 2 RBIs in the LTHS victory and is hitting .485 with 31 RBIs. Troy Stukenberg (2 for 2, double, 2 walks), James Georgelos (2 RBIs) and Charlie Breen (double) also contributed. Pitcher Nate Anderson (7 strikeouts, walk) moved to 4-0 by allowing just six hits in his complete-game victory.
Cooper Ohlson (2 doubles) and Charlie Greifenkamp had two hits May 7 and Frederick Ragsdale III and Greifenkamp two RBIs apiece.
Jack Falls hit his third homer May 2 en route to 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Stukenberg also was 2 for 3 and Ohlson tripled.
LTHS girls track and field
By hundredths of a second, junior Emma Kwak changed decades of LTHS history at the West Suburban Conference-Silver outdoor championships on May 6.
Kwak become the Lions’ first conference champion in the 100 since 1986 by winning (12.76) by 0.05 seconds. The Lions finished fourth overall with 83 points.
“I was seeded second, so I knew I had a chance [to win],” Kwak said. “As I was finishing, I saw the [second-place] girl in my side vision, so I couldn’t tell, but then I won.”
Kwak also led off the winning 400 relay with Ava Kuhlman, Nora Gannon and Becky Phillips (season-best 50.32) – right after the 3,200 relay Scarlett Lestina, Anna Bylsma, Kristina Findley and Catherine Sommerfeld (9:32.30) won by 6.71 seconds.
“We were seeded fourth so it was really exciting,” Gannon said. “We were all super close when we looked at the seeds, so I feel like we were hesitant if we could really do it.”
Phillips (400 in 1:00.48), Sommerfeld (1,600 in 5:06.54), the 800 relay (1:49.39) and the 1,600 relay (4:07.77) were second.
The Lions compete at the IHSA Hinsdale Central Sectional on May 13.
LTHS water polo
The Lyons Township High School boys (25-2) and girls (26-2-1) teams are the No. 1 seeds in their respective IHSA Sectionals, being hosted at LTHS.
The sectional finals with a downstate berth on the line are May 14 at 10 a.m. (boys) and 11:15 a.m. (girls).
On May 7, the girls captured the WSC Invite championship with a 12-7 victory over defending conference champion York in Western Springs. LTHS previously defeated York 18-15 on April 7.
“We wanted to redo our last game against York and come out better and stronger,” LTHS senior Sofia Hannon said. “We had a plan and executed it pretty well.”
Freshman and leading scorer Maya Mladjan scored eight goals for the top-seeded Lions, who led 4-0 and ran off six goals in a row to pull ahead 11-3 in the third period.
LTHS’ Evie Reinisch and Emilia Mladjan also scored. Hannon and Ava Wright each had two assists and Novalee Roberto and Maya Mladjan one each. Goalie Allison Schroeder had 11 saves, including one stopped penalty shot.
Hannah and Roberto are the Lions’ two senior starters and among only four on the team.
“It doesn’t really matter because we have amazing juniors, amazing sophomores and amazing freshmen that have stepped up this year. Having a variety of ages on the team has been really nice,” Hannon said.
The top-seeded LTHS boys lost to York 8-7 in their WSC Invite final at York.
The Lions’ scoring came from seniors A.J. Vitek (4 goals) and Jack Bradbury (3 goals) with assists by Bradbury, Sean Gripp, Jimmy Bolan, Brendan Whelton and Luke Jackson. Sophomore goalie Charlie Vlk had 12 saves.
The Dukes (23-7) scored the go-ahead goal with 59.42 seconds left and blocked the Lions’ game-tying attempt with 32 seconds left. All-state goalie Jack Schroeder (15 saves) stopped a half-pool shot just before the buzzer.
The Lions, who fell behind 4-0, previously swept York 8-7 on March 26 in the York Tournament final and 8-4 in the LT Tournament final on April 9.
“It’s a lot to learn, whenever you’re playing a good team,” LTHS coach Doug Eichstaedt said. “We went through a little stretch where we were making some good stops and just couldn’t convert them. They’ve got a great goalie. But we certainly had chances. We’ve just got to be better.”
LTHS boys volleyball
The Lions (19-8, 1-4 in WSC Silver) extended their winning streak to four by beating St. Francis 23-25, 25-21, 25-22 on May 5 and Lake Park 25-19, 25-22 on May 4.
The LTHS boys (9-7, 3-2 in WSC) defeated Downers Grove South 8-4 and lost to Glenbard West 14-3 last week.
The girls (6-8, 2-2) beat Glenbard West 12-3 on May 3.