Lemont holds off Yorkville to claim regional
Updated: May 28, 2011 4:33PM
No. 3 seed Lemont held off a seventh-inning rally to defeat 11th-seeded Yorkville 3-2 in the Class 3A Tinley Park Regional final.
Trailing 3-0 with two outs, Foxes cleanup hitter Josh M. Cooper took an outside fastball to the base of the wall in right field. His double plated the first two Yorkville runs of the day.
“I was thinking, it could have been the last at-bat I ever had,” Cooper said. “I wanted to go out well.”
Cooper had struck out his previous three times at bat.
“I stopped thinking,” the senior said. “There were a lot of thoughts and feelings going through my head (earlier) and I knew I had to change something.”
Ryan May led off the top of the seventh with a single out of the No. 9 spot, then leadoff man Luke Lucchetti followed with a double to left. A popout and a strikeout left the Foxes (19-16) in a tenuous position.
That’s when Cooper provided some heroics from the lineup’s cleanup spot.
“It carried a lot farther than I thought it would,” Lemont coach Joe Rodeghero said.
Indians winning pitcher Tyler Jay (4-2) recorded a game-ending strikeout to seal the win for his team.
“He said his tank was three-quarters full going into the seventh inning,” Rodeghero said. “He wanted to finish the game, and that’s what you want to see out of your pitcher.
Jay fanned 11 in a complete-game victory, yielding seven hits and three walks.
Yorkville starter Stephen Toma held his own on the mound, too. Toma (4-5) permitted just four hits in his six innings of work. His lone blemish came in the second inning, when he surrendered a one-out solo home run to Dan Lombardo. Toma allowed a single in the first, the homer and a double in the second, and a single in the fifth.
“I just had to keep my team amped up,” Toma said. “It’s all a mental game out there, and I just wanted to keep my team in the game. I had some fun, too.”
Three errors and two walks in the fifth enabled Lemont to add what turned out to be necessary insurance runs. The Indians also stole five bases for the game, included a double steal of home and second in that fateful fifth.
Despite the loss, Yorkville coach Scott Luken said.: “I couldn’t be more proud of the work these guys have put in. The last few weeks, they’ve worked really hard to get to this point.”
The Foxes started and finished the season strong, weathering their way through a rough patch in the middle of the season. Their postseason run included a 6-1 win over regional host Tinley Park Friday night.