Baseball: Joliet West earns share of SouthWest Suburban Blue title
Updated: May 17, 2012 7:32PM
Six games through the SouthWest Suburban Blue portion of the schedule, Joliet West was 3-3.
“I told the guys then that the most we could lose (over the final eight conference games) was one,” Tigers coach John Karczewski said. “They battled and beat the best. Now they are one of the best.”
West (19-13, 10-4) joined Lockport and Sandburg with a share of the SWS Blue title Thursday, beating Bolingbrook 8-1 behind the pitching of junior right-hander Jake Herron and the red-hot bat of senior catcher Matt Koran.
“This is big to win the conference championship,” said Koran, who doubled and scored on Anthony DiNardo’s double in the first inning, doubled home Josh Sheehan (who had doubled) in the third and singled home the key run in a four-run sixth that sealed the deal.
“We’re a family here. We’ve grown a tremendous amount. Now we’re winning the big games. It has been a huge transformation.”
Of course, optimism abounds whenever Herron (6-3, three saves) gets the ball. He is 5-0 in SWS Blue games, and the run Bolingbrook scored in the sixth while West’s infield was turning a huge 6-4-3 double play was the second earned run he allowed in the conference all season.
“Jake deals. He attacks hitters,” Karczewski said. “When he is on the mound, we can beat anybody.”
Herron struck out a season-high 13 and allowed six hits, none before the fourth inning.
“When Jake’s on the mound, we have his back,” Koran said. “We know he is going to be something special every time out.”
After Bolingbrook (14-16, 4-10) crept within 4-1 in the top of the sixth, Koran ignited the clincher with his RBI single. DiNardo singled, Alex Lakota added a single and RBI and Kyle Chavez, who had singled in a run in the fifth, singled home another.
“Matt (Koran) carries us,” Karczewski said. “He hits the ball hard, runs the bases and controls the game behind the plate.”