Baseball: Frank Podkul settles down, gets Andrean past Lemont
By Blake Baumgartner For Sun-Times Media May 22, 2014 9:48PM
Updated: May 22, 2014 10:11PM
Perennial Indiana state power Andrean seems poised to take full advantage of its inaugural appearance in the third annual Steven M. Bajenski Tournament.
Senior right-hander Frank Podkul settled down and his teammates did enough early and late on offense Thursday to lead Andrean to an 8-6 win over No. 3 Lemont at Benedictine University in Lisle.
As the first Indiana school to participate in the event, Andrean picked up where it left off after shutting out Brother Rice earlier this month. The Fighting ’59ers jumped to a 5-1 lead by the bottom of the second inning.
Chase Dawson’s two steals of home in successive innings highlighted Andrean’s early attack.
“It was just hustle,” said Dawson, whose two-run bloop double to left gave the ’59ers a 4-1 lead in the second “Big talk by the team. Just showed a lot of heart. It was a good game.”
Dawson and catcher Kevin McCune each had two RBI for Andrean (23-3). Podkul got into a nice groove after Lemont (27-4) pieced together a four-run second inning to tie the game at 5-5.
Podkul, who only struck out three, allowed just one more run the rest of the way in going the distance.
“Coach (Dave) Pishkur actually came out — (the coaches) actually were calling the game — and said, ‘You’re on your own now,’” Podkul said. “(He) let me do what I needed to do and it worked out pretty well. I’m used to doing that basically all summer, and freshman and JV year, I’d go along as the game’s going and figure out what’s working for me.
“Off-speed pitches weren’t working early and we called a lot of them. So then later in the game, I started to get them working (and) got a couple strikeouts on sliders. I went on my own and went with the flow with what I thought was going good.”
Lemont, the top seed in next week’s Class 3A Joliet Catholic Regional, got 5 2/3 innings from sophomore right-handed starter Garrett Acton but couldn’t sustain the momentum gleaned from the four-run second.
“I think we started pressing a little bit,” Lemont coach Brian Storako said. “We started to hit (Podkul’s) pitch vs. getting a good pitch for us to hit. So when we do that against a pitcher like that [who’s] hitting his spots, it’s a tough game all around. Hats off to (Podkul) for settling down and throwing strikes.”