Baseball: Lemont shuts down Oak Forest
By Pat Disabato email@example.com May 28, 2014 7:00PM
Oak Forest's Kevin Johnson fields the ball and makes the throw to first as the Bengals play Lemont. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 30, 2014 12:44PM
Lemont coach Brian Storako knew he would hear from disgruntled fans if his team had lost its Class 3A regional semifinal Wednesday against Oak Forest with ace Jake Latz sitting on the bench.
Storako, though, was willing to take that risk in hopes of having Latz ready to pitch Saturday against the winner of Thursday’s Lincoln-Way West-Joliet Catholic semifinal.
The gutsy decision paid off — and Storako has pitcher Charlie Wright to thank for it.
Despite suffering two earlier losses to Oak Forest, Wright stepped up and led the charge Wednesday. The left-hander scattered seven hits, walked one and struck out eight to guide Lemont to a 5-0 victory over the Bengals in the Joliet Catholic Regional.
“Hat’s off to Charlie,” Storako said. “We had all the confidence in him. He lost twice to them, but he only allowed two earned runs. He made me look good.”
The Indians (29-5) scored the only run they would need in the second inning, compliments of some shoddy defense by the Bengals (25-11).
With one out, Oak Forest committed consecutive errors, putting runners on the corners. Danny Dowiarz then singled down the third-base line off Oak Forest pitcher Dan Hlad to give Lemont a 1-0 lead.
“I was looking for the ball middle-away,” Dowiarz said. “That’s what he scouting report said. He threw me a fastball inside and I slapped it down the line.”
Oak Forest had scoring opportunities in the third and fourth, but stranded two runners on base each inning and seven in all.
“We couldn’t come up with the big two-out hit,” Oak Forest coach Thad Gatton said. “Unfortunately, our defense let us down.”
Lemont put the game out of reach with a four-run fifth, sending nine batters to the plate and recording five of its seven hits.
Dowiarz ignited the outburst with a leadoff single. Folliard singled to right, executing a perfect hit-and-run that allowed Dowiarz to head to third. When the ball eluded the Oak Forest right fielder, Dowiarz came around to score for a 2-0 spread.
Singles by Jamie Glista and Mike Wisz and a double by Jake Terrazas drove in runs for a 5-0 advantage.
“I had to get the first-pitch strike and not walk anyone,” Wright said. “I had a lot of walks against them the other two times I pitched and it killed me. I just had to relax.”