Streamwood shoots for another firstStreamwood's Edgar Saldivar (3) celebrates as he score the winning run in front of Cary-Grove's Matt Panek (26) in the sixth inning during their Class 4A sectional final game at DeKalb High School Saturday. The Sabres won the game 2-1. June 4, 2011. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 6, 2011 2:58PM
Streamwood’s baseball team can move into a whole new stratosphere with a victory Monday night against Lyons in the Class 4A Rockford Supersectional at Road Ranger Stadium.
When the state playoffs began last month, the Sabres had no postseason titles in their program’s 32-year history. That changed when they won the Hoffman Estates Regional and DeKalb Sectional, leaving them one win away from advancing to the state finals this weekend at Silver Cross Field in Joliet.
“This is something that we didn’t even think about a couple years ago,” Streamwood senior Josh Harris said. “We were talking regional and that was our big thing. Since we got past that we’ve been playing so loose and our guys have all been upbeat.
“We’re doing a special thing right now and we’re going to remember it for a while.”
Streamwood (30-6) figures to get a formidable test from Lyons (34-4), which captured the St. Charles North Sectional title with a 7-2 win against upstart Glenbard West on Saturday. The Lions were ranked No. 2 in the most recent Sun-Times baseball rankings and won the West Suburban Silver title.
Lyons has a far richer history on the diamond than the Sabres, but this is its first supersectional appearance since 2006. The Lions have advanced to the state finals eight times, winning the state championship in 1967 and 2003.
Valparaiso-bound shortstop Spencer Mahoney and Penn-bound pitcher Connor Cuff headline a deep and talented Lyons roster, which also includes senior sluggers Brian Rodemoyer and Tom Walsh and pitcher Zach Remijas.
“With Lyons we’ll have our hands full, but anything can happen,” Streamwood coach Steve Diversey said. “These are high school kids still and that’s a big-pressure game. It all depends on how our pitching is going, how our hitting is going and all that good stuff.”
The Sabres will be trying to continue a run of success that began shortly after a bitter taste of disappointment when they squandered a 10-run lead in a loss to rival South Elgin in a regional championship game last season.
Streamwood rebounded from that painful loss by advancing all the way to the championship game of the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association summer tournament before losing in the final to Nazareth.
Proving that success wasn’t a fluke, Streamwood started the 2011 season 14-0 before eventually setting a program record for wins and earning a share of the Upstate Eight River championship. The league title was the first in program history for the Sabres.
“Regardless of what we did in the summer, who would figure (that we’d be in a supersectional),” Diversey said. “Everyone has always said that Streamwood had a good team, but they haven’t done it when it counts. Hopefully now we’re taking some of those naysayers and giving them some confidence in us.”
Streamwood will likely send junior Dalton Lundeen (8-1) to the mound against Lyons. The junior was the winning pitcher in his team’s regional and sectional semifinal triumphs.
The availability of Harris (7-2) is unclear after the Villanova-bound ace tossed a complete game in Streamwood’s 2-1 win against Cary-Grove in the DeKalb Sectional title game Saturday.
Junior Richie Gorski is the top offensive threat for the Sabres, who also count on big contributions in the lineup from seniors Nate Pearson, Pat Manning, Tim Cohen, Bobby Post and Nick Pryor and juniors Alex Morrow and Brandon Larkin-Guilfoyle.
“We knew we were going to go far and we were working hard all offseason,” Morrow said. “It’s paying off right now.”
Added Manning: “We don’t know a whole lot about Lyons, but if we play our baseball I think we’ll be all right.”