ELMHURST – It’s nearly the time of year where executing and making big plays is everything.
York baseball hasn’t been doing enough of either lately.
Regional play starts Wednesday for the Dukes, and they will have to clean up the little things that have haunted them in recent action.
York is 15-17 overall and finished the West Suburban Silver with an 8-10 record after losing two out of three to Lyons Township. The Dukes won the series opener, 2-1, but lost, 7-1 and 2-0, in the final two games.
York has received quality pitching, but scoring three runs in three games is not going to cut it.
“We’ve just got to find a way to get a hit when we need a hit and make a play defensively when we need to make a play,” York coach Dave Kalal said. “For whatever reason, we are struggling doing that. I just hope that we can make a little noise in the playoffs next week and make something happen.”
Kalal voiced confidence in his pitching and for good reason. Louis Alcaraz pitched a complete game and didn’t allow any earned runs in York’s only win in the series. Ace River Pitlock got hit hard by the Lions, but has been dominant at times this year. Junior Anthony Santos gave up two runs in a complete game against LT in the series finale Monday and has become a consistent starter.
“I still believe that we have the pitching to be able to compete, but it’s just a matter of if we can glove it,” Kalal said.
Playing LT always is a good test and an intense series. Last year, the Dukes were the only team to beat LT in a conference series and won the Silver while the Lions went on to play in the Class 4A state title game.
This year, there wasn’t as much on the line with both teams out of the race in the league, but it was a good playoff test run. LT won Monday’s rubber game, 2-0, thanks to a complete-game shutout from Zach Carlson, who has thrown 28 consecutive scoreless innings. It was the kind of close, low-scoring game that was reminiscent of a playoff game.
“It’s always like that against these guys,” senior leadoff hitter Josh Paparone said after the game. “I like the way we’re looking right now. I know maybe we didn’t show it for this game, but we got some solid pitchers that we can throw and if our hitting supports them we can do well in the playoffs.”