Baseball: Ryan Lane, Freeport hold off MarmionMarmion's A.J. Friedman is tagged out by Freeport's Tyler Olson on a steal attempt in the first inning of their sectional contest on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
Marmion’s baseball team seemed to be in position to break open its Class 3A Sycamore Sectional semifinal game against Freeport on numerous occasions Wednesday.
But sometimes, you have to tip your cap to a pitcher that has your number.
Freeport junior Ryan Lane was that pitcher Wednesday.
Marmion had runners on base in five of the seven innings of its 5-1 loss to the Pretzels, but Lane escaped by allowing only one run and seeing three Cadets thrown out on the basepaths as Freeport moves on to Saturday’s sectional title game.
“I obviously didn’t see him pitch all year, but we ran into a very good pitcher today, got to give him credit,” Marmion coach Dave Rakow said. “When a guy holds you to three hits like that, you have to give him some credit. We ran into a buzzsaw. It stinks that it happened in the playoffs.”
Two of the five walks Lane issued in the game came in the top of the first, but the Cadets (22-11) saw both runners nailed trying to steal a base. Then in the third, the Cadets loaded the bases, but Lane picked two of his six strikeouts to strand the bases loaded.
Freeport (17-20) kept the momentum rolling into the bottom of the third. Lane helped his own cause, blasting a lead-off home run off of Connor Riley (7-3). Adam Smith then walked and scored on a groundout to open a 2-0 lead.
Marmion had its best chance to get back into the game in the fifth. Andy Young singled and Brady Roberts and Shane Cano both walked, loading the bases with no outs and the top of the order coming up. With one out, Mitch Sterne laid down a perfect squeeze bunt, but a balk was called before the pitch. That allowed Young to score the Cadets’ lone run. With his at-bat still alive, Sterne flew out to shallow right field and Smith gunned down pinch runner Tyler Eberth at the plate to put a stunning end to the threat.
“I think a shallow fly ball is a risky call (to send the runner), but we were in a tight ballgame where we had to make a call like that,” Young said. “You never know what the next guy would have done, especially with their pitcher having a day like this. We had to try to be aggressive. When you make mistakes being aggressive, that’s fine.”
A two-run double from Cody Wescott in the fifth blew the game open for the Pretzels and ended Riley’s day on the mound. The Cadets had baserunners in both the sixth and seventh innings, but never got past first base.
“We just couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it,” Rakow said. “One hit might have been all it would have taken to get us going, but it didn’t happen. Hindsight is always 20/20. Maybe there were a few things we could have done different. It is what it is. You have to give them credit sometimes too.”
Marmion ended the season winning 11 of its last 14 games, putting things together at the right time. The Cadets say goodbye to 11 seniors, including most of the team’s regulars.
“It’s a bitter taste right now, going out with a loss, but almost every team in the state has to lose at some point,” Rakow said. “I told them to be proud of what they accomplished while they were here. The program is better now than it was when they came into it. I just thanked the guys for all the work they put in.”