LEMONT – Showing a flair for the dramatic, Lemont baseball closed out the regular season in thrilling fashion Monday.
Capping off a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning, Matt Kaminski drove in the winning run as the Indians beat Joliet West 11-10. A two-run homer by Jake Latz had knotted up the score.
Just three days earlier, Lemont also scored four runs in its final at-bat to stun Oak Park-River Forest 6-5.
“We had a couple of losses early in the season, to Joliet Catholic and Oak Lawn, where we couldn’t get the big hit,” said Lemont coach Brian Storako. “Now we got the big hit. One thing this team never does is quit.”
The Indians took a record of 22-6 into the playoffs in Storako’s first season at the helm.
“It’s a good group of kids and they work their butts off,” the coach said. “It’s never been, ‘Hey guys, we need to work harder.’ It’s been, ‘Keep doing what you are doing.’ No matter whether your team is talented or not talented, all you can ask for from the kids is to work hard.”
And while the Indians have a crop of really talented players, led by LSU-recruits Latz and Mike Papierski, who was selected as the South Suburban Blue Player of the Year, it has been a total team effort.
“It hasn’t been one or two guys, that’s for sure,” Storako said. “We have had guys that have come up big all the way through the lineup.
“A couple guys that come to mind, Kaminski is leading our team with a .447 average. And Mike Wisz, he is a good all-around athlete and he leads the team in RBIs with 39.”
Hosting a Class 3A regional, Lemont was scheduled to open the playoffs Thursday against Lincoln-Way West with the regional final set for 11 a.m. Saturday.