Prep Baseball Report

Joliet West hangs on to upend No. 17 L-W West

By Drake Skleba
Senior Writer

NEW LENOX – In a Southwest Suburban Conference crossover affair, Joliet West survived a seventh inning uprising from Lincoln-Way West and held on to stun the 17th-ranked Warriors 5-4. For Joliet West, Lincoln-Way West became the third straight state-ranked team to fall to the Tigers. Joliet Catholic and Andrew had fallen to the Tigers in the last week.

The first three hitters in the Joliet West lineup reached base safely against Warrior starting pitcher senior lefty Ryan Novak (1-1). Senior centerfielder Will Holman walked, junior Zach Thomas tripled to right scoring Holman. DH Anthony Dinardo drove home Thomas with an RBI single for a quick 2-0 Tiger lead.

“I have been feeling real good at the plate,” said Thomas. “It was a great win for us.”

Novak would settle down and throw five shutout innings against the Tigers before being relieved in the seventh.

Joliet West (5-1) senior right-hander Jake Herron (1-1) was perfect through the first the first three innings. In the Lincoln-Way West fourth, Warrior leadoffman Jake Robbins doubled to break up the no-no for Herron. Herron would one-hit the Warriors until the seventh.

In the top of the seventh, Joliet West would score three huge runs against the Warrior pen. Tiger junior second baseman Josh Sheehan would highlight the three-run Tiger uprising with a big two-out-two-run double, which gave the Tigers a 5-0 lead. Sheehan’s double would prove to be the game-winner.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Warriors mounted their comeback. Warrior senior third baseman Connor Hogan walked and senior Tyler Kopp hit a bomb over the right-field fence to end Herron’s day. Herron allowed two runs, two hits and struck out eight in his solid six innings of work.

“I started to tire a little in the seventh,” said Herron. “They had good swings against me the whole game. My curve ball was my best pitch. The best feeling for a pitcher is to drop a 3-2 curveball for strike three. I was able to do that repeatedly.”

Tiger head coach John Karczewski went to his pen and brought in right-handed reliever Eliya Prieboy. Warrior junior pinch-hitter Dan Laberry greeted Prieboy with a double. Senior Nick Andrade was plunked and Robbins walked to load the bases with no outs.

Junior Javier Montalvo singled to make it 5-3. Junior shortstop Luke Morgan’s sac-fly made it 5-4 with one out. Prieboy made the pitch of the game next, inducing senior shortstop Luke Morgan, to roll into a 4-6-3 double play to end this thriller. No. 9 hitter, junior Cody Grosse had a three-hit day for the Tigers.

“It got a little hairy at the end,” said Karczewski. “Jake pitched a great game against a quality team. We have been playing great baseball this week. Josh Sheehan had a big double for us.”

For Lincoln-Way West, Kopp’s big two-run blow in the seventh was his second homer in two games.

“I’m proud of the way the kids battled at the end,” said Lincoln-Way West head coach Zjak. “Ryan Novak had a rough first inning but pitched very well after that.”

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