The Lithuanian Lightning Strikes ... Out 11 To Lead No. 3 St. Laurence

By Sean Duncan

Executive Director

Marius BalandisBURBANK, IL - Having moved from Lithuania to the Chicago-area last year, St. Laurence senior RHP Marius Balandis is still somewhat of a mystery among the pro scouting community. Balandis added to his intrigue in February when the athletically built 6-foot-2, 191-pounder popped 94 mph, sitting 91-93, at the Super 60 in front of 100-plus pro scouts.

Although Balandis has pitched for the Lithuania national team in the past, and was a known prospect in Europe, Balandis is still establishing himself here in the states.

On Saturday, with a handful of pro scouts in attendance, Balandis made his first high school start in Illinois, having pitched last week in Arizona. While not exactly sharp, control-wise, Balandis turned in a dominant, tantalizing performance during No. 3 St. Laurence’s 9-0 victory over visiting Maine South.

Currently ranked No. 7 in Illinois’ 2017 class and No. 100 overall, Balandis didn’t yield a hit in five innings work while striking out 11 and walking five. Other than a sacrifice bunt in the third inning, the first 14 batters either struck out or walked. The Iowa Western CC recruit struck out six in the first two innings, including four straight on 91, 90, 90 and 89 mph fastballs, respectively. He sat 87-90 through three innings, pitched at 86-88 in the fourth (touching 90 once), and was essentially playing a game of catch at 86 in the fifth and final inning. He also wrinkled in a handful of 68-70 mph curveballs and a 80-mph changeups (a few of which had late splitter-like tumble action).

Junior LF Zach Verta provided Balandis and the Vikings (6-0) all the support they would need when he delivered an opposite-field home run to right-center to lead off the second inning. St. Laurence added three more runs in the fourth and four in the fifth to bust the game open.

Junior pinch-hitter Gage Olszak had a bases-loaded two-run single to right field to open the scoring in the fourth. Verta finished 1-for-1 with two walks and two runs scored, and Illinois-bound LHP/OF Jimmy Burnette doubled, walked, scored two runs and flew out deep to right field.

Maine South (1-5) picked up two hits after Balandis left the game.

For more in-depth notes from the game - and all other games that we cover - visit the Illinois Scout Blog later.

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