Chargers tame Lyons, reach final
Updated: July 20, 2011 10:50PM
St. Joseph center fielder Edgar Donato scorched one over the fence while pitcher Stephen Scatassa stayed cool on the mound to lead the Chargers past reigning Class 4A state champ Lyons 3-2 Wednesday and into the finals of the Fenwick Regional in the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association summer state tournament.
No. 3-seeded St. Joseph will play a 2 p.m. game Thursday afternoon against No. 13 York, a 2-1 winner over top-seeded and defending summer league champion Nazareth at the Priory Field in River Forest.
Donato smacked a long two-run home run into the trees in deep right field in the top of the fifth inning that put St. Joseph ahead 3-0 and the Chargers hung on as Scatassa looked impressive. He held Lyons (22-10-3) at bay, allowing just a solo homer to Zack Carlson in the bottom of the fifth and another run in the sixth when Blake Murray walked and later scored on a two-out dribbler down the third-base line by Brad Taylor that resulted in an infield single and RBI.
But Scatassa battled the Lions the whole way and survived temperatures in the high 90s as he went the distance, striking out four and walking only one to put St. Joseph (18-4) one victory away from the summer’s Elite Eight in the state.
Scatassa admitted he felt the effects of the extremely hot weather.
“I feel pretty good, but pitching in the heat gets to you after a while,” he said. “After the first couple of innings you start to lose miles per hour on your fastball and other pitches pretty quickly. Today, getting ahead in the count really helped me out. I was getting in first-pitch fastballs and then making them chase bad pitches and changing speeds well.
“They’re a great team coming off a state championship. Keith Uhmann did a hell of a job on the mound, but things just seemed to go our way the whole game.”
Scatassa also helped himself at the plate when he drove in the Chargers’ first run in the third with a sacrifice fly to deep center field to score Donato, who had walked. Donato also helped out Scatasa with his defense, flashing the leather in center with a two excellent catches to squash a couple Lyons scoring opportunities.
“It was a changeup,” Donato said of the pitch he sent sailing out of the park off Lyons pitcher Uhmann, who allowed just three hits and two earned runs, striking out four and walking three. “I was looking curveball, but he ended up coming in with a change-up — and I got all of that one.”
As for the possible game-saving catch he made in the fourth inning with runners on first and second with one out: “I thought it was a gapper, but I got a good jump on it and ended up catching it. Our team can compete with anybody, so if we just come out here and play our game, we can beat ’em.”
Lyons coach George Ushela said his team’s failure to execute on a couple of occasions might have been the difference in a close contest.
“We didn’t get a bunt down with runners on first and second (in the fourth inning) and then they got a strikeout followed by a good catch in the outfield, which would have resulted in a run had the bunt been executed,” Ushela said. “We had a couple of errors and that contributed to an unearned run and they didn’t make an error. That’s the thing about baseball, I think we hit the ball harder today, but they didn’t do anything to lose and we did a few things that didn’t enhance our chances of winning.”