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Baseball: Joliet West tops Lincoln-Way East

Joliet West's 1st baseman Alex Lakatos (12) is late with pick tag from pitcher as Lincoln-Way East's Evan Sandmann (13)

Joliet West's 1st baseman Alex Lakatos (12) is late with pick tag from the pitcher as Lincoln-Way East's Evan Sandmann (13) gets back to the base and West won 8-4 held at Joliet, Illinois on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 2, 2013 6:43AM



The lethal left-handed-hitting trio in the Joliet West lineup proved to be more than visiting Lincoln-Way East could handle.

Cody Grosse, the No. 9 hitter, and the 1-2 hitters, Larry Holman and Zack Thomas, were instrumental in six runs Tuesday as the Tigers scored a huge 8-4 SouthWest Suburban Blue victory the league-leading and fifth-ranked Griffins.

Grosse doubled to ignite a three-run third inning, climaxed by Anthony DiNardo’s two-run single, that staked West (13-7, 5-3) to a 3-0 lead it would not relinquish. Holman had a bunt single, RBI triple, infield single, stole a base and scored three runs. Thomas chipped in an RBI single, a sacrifice fly and moved a runner to third with a none-out grounder to second.

“I’ll take those three in a row over any three lefties in the state,” said right-hander Jake Herron, who battled through six innings for the victory before Quinn Ahern finished.

“When Larry flew around the bases on that triple that scored Cody, that’s the funnest part of the game,” West coach John Karczewski said. “All three of those guys are different sizes, but they cause havoc on the bases. They put the ball in play. They don’t strike out much.”

All three have the bunt in their arsenal.

“I like to bunt, especially when I get in a little skid,” Holman said. “It helps me see the ball better.”

East (14-4, 5-2) got to within 3-2 with two unearned runs in the fourth. Holman’s triple to the gap in left-center highlighted a two-run West fourth that made it 5-2. Griffins center field Tom Fuessel made a valiant dive attempting to chase down the triple.

“I was kind of expecting him to get to that one,” Holman said. “We played football with him. He is fast.”

Evan Sandmann’s two-run homer, his second hit, shaved West’s lead to 5-4 in the fifth.

“I see that Sandmann’s name in the paper all the time, so I know he can hit,” Herron said. “I got him the first time, but then he got me.”

Josh Sheehan’s RBI single and some aggressive baserunning helped build the Tigers’ lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the fifth, and when Herron, who allowed six hits, stranded the bases loaded in the of the sixth, that pretty much was it.

“This was huge,” Karczewski said. “Both of us still have tough ones left (in the conference); this was a must-win for us.”

“We did not play well,” East coach Paul Babcock said. “You can’t play like that and beat a good team.

“There was one other game this year we played poorly like this. I couldn’t be more disappointed in our effort and execution. Those are things we can control.”

Babcock complimented Herron, and added, “We did not have good at-bats. Our pitching didn’t work ahead, either, and didn’t field the position. But it is one game. We have a bunch left.”



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