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Baseball: Minooka tops Lincoln-Way West; Sandburg outlasts Lemont in regional semifinals

Lincoln-Way West's Zach Speaker gets hit by pitch.  | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media

Lincoln-Way West's Zach Speaker gets hit by a pitch. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 19, 2013 4:07PM



Working overtime was the M.O. on a hot, humid Wednesday evening at Ed Flink Field.

Neal Tyrell and Joe Butler combined to lead Minooka past Lincoln-Way West 5-2 in 10 innings after Sandburg ousted Lemont 3-2 in nine innings in the semifinals of the Lockport Regional in the Phil Lawler Summer Classic.

The championship game is at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Tyrell, who stole four bases, created the go-ahead run in the 10th. He singled for his third hit and stole second. When the Warriors’ catcher threw behind him after a pitch, he broke for third and scored when the throw there got away.

The Indians (12-5-1) kept running, and the defense for West (18-3-2) remained generous as Minooka scored two more runs to build a cushion.

Brandon Stang and Trevor Maly worked in the bottom of the 10th to save the victory for Butler.

Tyrell, who led off the eighth inning with a double off the left-field fence but was stranded at third, hit the second pitch of the game for home run to left field.

“It was quite a battle and somehow we came out on top,” Tyrell said.

West got its two runs in the fourth. Minooka starting pitcher Cole Thompson lost command of the strike zone and the runs eventually scored on a double play and a wild pitch on a third strike that would have ended the inning.

Minooka evened it at 2 in the fifth when Mitch Vogrin was hit by a pitch and raced around to score on Tyler Paulsen’s double.

Butler, a sophomore, relieved Thompson to get the last out with the bases loaded in the fourth and blanked the Warriors over 51/3 strong innings. He struck out nine, including the last two batters in the seventh with the bases loaded, and allowed three hits.

“I’ve known Joe for a long time,” Tyrell said. “I played basketball with him last year. He’s a very gutsy kid.”

“I couldn’t have done it without my catcher (Tyler Desmarais) and without Neal scoring us runs,” Butler said. “Desi saved me a bunch of times on pitches in the dirt.”

Luke Morgan, who relieved West starter Dylan Eller in the eighth, took the loss. He had two of the Warriors’ five hits. Adam Knerr also had a pair.

“What a great high school baseball game,” Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic said. “It was a fun game to watch.”

Sandburg 3, Lemont 2

Chris Stearns had not hit a home run in the spring or summer season. But leading off the bottom the ninth, he belted an offering from Lemont’s Kevin Trojak over the left-center field fence to give the Eagles their victory.

“I knew it was in the gap; I was hoping it would go out,” Stearns said. “I was just trying to get on base and help our team win.”

Michigan-bound right-hander Bryan Paul pitched the first eight innings for Sandburg, striking out 13, walking one (intentionally) and allowing six hits.

“At times we hit the ball well, but they made the plays,” Lemont coach Brian Storako said. “When we had chances, we had the guys up we wanted, but this time it didn’t work out.”

Ryan Folliard and Matt Monaco had two hits for the Indians (8-7-2).

Lemont got strong pitching from Garrett Acton and Trojak, but Alec Martinez and Julian Gutierrez also homered for Sandburg (10-2-1).

“Our pitching made three mistakes and they hit them out,” Storako said. “When you fall behind in counts, it’s an uphill battle.”



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