LISLE – Lyons Township baseball coach George Ushela has said he likes the summer state tournament because it forces teams to use more pitchers.
In Wednesday’s semifinal of the Phil Lawler Classic at Benedictine University, LT showed off more of that pitching depth.
A day after Max Larsen threw a shutout against Minooka, junior Quinton Hughes fired a one-hitter against St. Charles East. Larsen scored the game’s only run in the bottom of the sixth to give LT a 1-0 victory and send the Lions back to the final in search of back-to-back summer titles.
“It’s got to be the coaching,” Hughes said. “Especially when tournament time comes, mentally we have to be focused for the game. We meet three hours before game time at the school. We watch videos, we hit, get mentally prepared for the game three hours before. It’s not just showing up to the field and playing. It’s all the preparations.”
Hughes retired the first 13 batters he faced and walked just one in a dominant performance. The lefty had three strikeouts.
The Lions didn’t get going offensively either. Sam Heilenbach had the first hit of the game in the fourth inning. He singled again in the sixth to move Larsen over after he led the inning off with a base hit.
Larsen scored on an infield single by Sam Cybulski. Cybulski hit the ball back to the mound and Larsen slid around the tag at home plate.
“I think we all just like hitting in warm weather,” Larsen said. “Last year was a lot of fun. This year it’s a lot of fun.”