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Baseball: Lemont eyes state crown behind 1-2 punch

Jake Latz Lemont delivers pitch against De LSalle for 3A Supersectional game Standard Bank Stadium Monday June 9th 2014 Crestwood.

Jake Latz, of Lemont, delivers a pitch against De La Salle for the 3A Supersectional game at Standard Bank Stadium, Monday, June 9th, 2014, in Crestwood. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media

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class 3A
baseball state
semifinals

(at Silver Cross Field, Joliet)

Friday

Metamora vs. Lemont, 10 a.m.

Grayslake Central
vs. Sacred Heart-Griffin, noon

Saturday

Third-place game, 9 a.m.

Championship, 11:30 a.m.

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Updated: July 14, 2014 6:37AM



If Lemont is going to cap off its historic season with a Class 3A state championship this weekend at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, its pitching staff likely will lead the way.

That’s not to say the Indians lack the offensive firepower to carry the load. Mike Wisz (.478, 5 homers, 38 RBI), Mike Papierski (.404, 11 doubles, 7 homers, 26 RBI) and Jake Terrazas (.365, 31 RBI) lead an attack capable of putting up big numbers. Just ask Monday’s supersectional victim, De La Salle, which encountered an 11-1 loss to the Indians.

However, Lemont’s pitching staff, led by Jake Latz, has proven to be something extraordinary.

“We figured our pitching was going to be our strength and it’s been that during the season,” Lemont coach Brian Storako said. “It’s a special group.”

There hasn’t been a more dominant hurler than Latz. The senior left-hander is 9-0 with 103 strikeouts and an 0.25 ERA.

“Jake has an incredible season,” Storako said. “He’s pitched well every time out.”

However, when the Indians (33-5) take on Metamora (26-12) at 10 a.m. on Friday, it’s probable that fellow left-hander Charlie Wright will get the start. Wright has been outstanding too, posting a 7-1 record, 59 strikeouts and an 0.77 ERA.

“Charlie would be a No. 1 pitcher on most teams,” Storako said.

Metamora has put together an impressive playoff, registering 38 runs in five games and its pitching staff posting three shutouts.

Offensively, Metamora is led by Ethan Skender, who leads the team in average (.397), homers (11) and RBI (35). He has a couple of capable wingmen in Brady Fairfield (.347, 12 doubles) and Caleb Brachbill (.379, 28 RBI).

While Metamora’s pitching staff may not boast the dominance of Lemont, it’s awfully good. Geremy Guerrero (7-1, 1.19) and Alex Lewis (7-1,1.31) provide a super one-two punch, with Braden Mann (4-4, 2.39) and Drew Beenders (5-1, 2.89) likely coming out of the bullpen.

“They’re a solid team,” Storako said. “They have some decent team speed and they’re aggressive at the plate.”

Lemont and Metamora have one common opponent, Lincoln-Way West. The Indians recorded a 6-2 win over the Warriors, while the Redbirds suffered an 8-1 loss. Metamora also suffered a 1-0 loss to Joliet Catholic.

Storako hopes the Indians can continue their trend of scoring early and playing near-flawless defense. Lemont has committed just one error in the postseason.

“Our hitting has been taking the pressure off our pitching by scoring early,” Storako said. “We need to keep swinging at good pitches, making the routine plays and throwing strikes. The team that does those things and makes the least mistakes generally comes out on top.”



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