Baseball: Lockport cruises past Joliet West
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media April 4, 2014 10:24PM
Lockport's Noah Masa delivers a pitch against Joliet West in Lockport on Friday, Apr. 4, 2014. | Mike Mantucca / For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 5, 2014 5:25PM
Lockport’s Noah Masa was cruising Friday on the mound. Absolutely cruising.
And watching from the dugout, he knew with one swing the Porters were in a good place.
Masa threw a gem on the mound and Tyler Hair smashed a third-inning grand slam to lead host Lockport to an 11-2 win over Joliet West in a WJOL/Don Ladas Tournament quarterfinal.
“That’s extra cushion (the grand slam), and my guys are doing their job at the plate,” Masa said with a smile. “That gave me confidence going forward.”
Lockport (5-3) will play Joliet Catholic, a 9-2 winner over Plainfield South, at 11 a.m. Saturday in the semifinals. The WJOL championship is 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Silver Cross Field in Joliet.
Masa earned the win on a chilly Friday, striking out 11 and giving up just two hits over five innings.
Over the first three innings he struck out seven straight.
“That’s what we expect from him on the mound,” Lockport coach Andy Satunas said. “We want him to attack the zone and go after hitters with command. The seven strikeouts are just a bonus.”
Masa got some run support in the third. Chris Grazioli came home on a wild pitch to open up the scoring.
Later, the Porters’ Tyler Hair stepped to the dish with the bases loaded, all three runners there courtesy of a walk. Hair made the Tigers pay for their wildness, smashing a grand slam down the left-field line.
“Our pitching has been great, and we wanted to get some runs on the board,” Hair said. “(I) hit the ball on the barrel, and the wind took it. It felt good.”
The next batter up, Jake Stanton followed suit, drilling a solo shot to dead center field to put Lockport up 6-0.
“Joliet Catholic is a big rival ... that will be a good game Saturday,” Hair said.
Masa and Rusty Hoh (2 innings, 2 strikeouts) combined to give up just four hits. The duo walked five, stranding nine runners.
“You deal with adversity, but that’s crunch time,” Masa said. “That’s when you go at a batter, make sure those runs don’t score.”
Nick Frausto (RBI) and Cody Grosse (2-for-4, run) paced Joliet West (1-3).