Baseball: Tom Prescott leads Lyons past St Joseph
Updated: July 19, 2012 5:09PM
Lyons southpaw Tom Prescott crushed a two-run triple in the fifth inning that proved to be the winning margin and went the distance on the mound in a 3-1 victory over St. Joseph in a Fenwick Regional semifinal of the Illinois Baseball Coaches Association Summer Classic state tournament on Wednesday.
The Lions (26-4-1) will take on Maine West at 2 p.m. Thursday for the chance to advance to the state finals at Benedictine University and North Central College. The Warriors beat Oak Park-River Forest 5-4 in 13 innings in the first semifinal.
On a day when conditions seemed more favorable for hitters, it was the pitchers who were smoking hot most of the game. Throw in some slick fielding plays and it resulted in a win for the state runner-up.
“Tom (Prescott) pitched a very good game — only one walk. He threw strikes and we played good defense behind him,” Lyons coach George Ushela said. “He got a lot of ground balls and five strikeouts and when he gets on top of his curve ball like he did today it breaks really well and makes him really tough to hit. Our bats were a little sluggish today, but the heat hasn’t let up at all and I think we’re feeling the effects.”
Prescott (five hits, walk, earned run) and Chargers starter Ryan Moritz were locked in a scoreless duel until Lyons broke through with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning on back-to-back doubles by Max Larsen and Sam Heilenbach (2-for-3, RBI).
An inning later, Lyons’ Mike Lorenz and Keith Leihman (2-for-2, walk) both singled with one out off Moritz. After a pitching change, Prescott, who was 0-for-2 off the lefty starter, greeted reliever Pat Brown with a smash to right-center field for a three-bagger to give his team a 3-0 advantage.
St. Joseph (13-3) scored its only run of the game in the top of the sixth when Trayvon Johnson led off the inning with a triple and scored on an infield single by Edgar Donato. A force out and an inning-ending double play doomed the Chargers’ rally, and Prescott retired the St. Joseph batters in order in the seventh to close out the game.
Prescott (4-1) said he was most pleased with the triple since he had been slumping at the plate lately.
“I’ve been pretty consistent with my pitching the past few games and my hitting has been pretty shaky,” he said. “I think I worked out some mechanical problems today in batting practice, and I showed it. As for pitching, my curve ball was going. When it breaks a lot I can get a lot of guys out. When it’s working like it did today it’s my go-to pitch.”
St. Joseph coach Jay Meath was disappointed with the loss but not with his squad’s effort.
“I thought our pitcher really did well,” he said. “They moved the ball in and out, up and down pretty well but the bottom line is we didn’t get enough guys on base. We didn’t get too many chances to move runners along, steal and a couple of the hits we did get were with two outs.
‘‘When we hit the ball well they made some great plays on defense. For the most part I was really proud of the kids. We hung in there and knew we could play with them.”