Lions gear up for State playoffs

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The Lyons Township baseball team has already shifted gears for the Class AA playoffs.

As the top seed in the Reavis Sectional, the Lions will take on 18th-seeded Proviso East today at 4:30 p.m. in the first round of the Leyden Regional. With a win, LT would advance to face either No. 8 Leyden or No. 11 Elmwood Park.

LT (30-3) has already met Proviso East once this year and walked away with an 18-2 win, despite not playing any regulars. This time the Pirates, who will be able to count their regular-season win total on one hand, will have to contend with Lyons' pitching ace Dan Sorce.

"We aren't going to take anyone lightly," LT coach George Ushela said. "We haven't done that all year. We play the games one at a time and our kids are trained not to look past anyone. We go out and expect to win and expect to play consistently all year long, whether we're playing top-notch teams or mediocre teams."

Sorce (6-2), who carries an ERA just above 1.00, has been overpowering hitters all season with 84 strikeouts in 54 innings. He'll stay at the front of LT's rotation through the playoffs. He'll be followed by Dan Weston (6-1), who's also been putting the ball past batters (57 strikeouts in 45 innings).

Ushela has already gone about setting up his pitching staff for the playoffs. In Saturday's eight-inning 4-3 win against Palatine, Sorce threw the first five frames and allowed only one hit. The lefty was then pulled to get some work for Tim Brewer and starter Kyle Corcoran.

With some questionable calls on balls and strikes, Brewer landed in trouble after issuing a pair of free passes. After a double and a pair of errors, Palatine had tied the game at 3-3.

Corcoran came on in the seventh and would pitch the eighth after Joe Walsh drilled a solo home run with one out in the top of the eight to put the Lions ahead. Corcoran induced a game-ending double play to improve to 7-0 on the season.

Brewer and Corcoran will team with Casey McMurray, who struck out six over five innings in an 8-2 win against Morton last week, as well a s another pitcher to form LT's bullpen for the postseason. Mike DiMaggio, who was called up from the sophomore team, made a bid for the last spot after striking out the side in the seventh inning against Morton.

Every LT starter is batting above .290. Steve Kehr is leading the Lions with an average of .420.

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