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Latz's gem leads Lemont baseball past undefeated Lincoln-Way West

Lemont’s Jake Latz delivers a pitch during the second inning against Lincoln-Way West on Saturday in Lemont. Lemont defeated Lincoln-Way West, 3-0. (Lathan Goumas –
Lemont’s Jake Latz delivers a pitch during the second inning against Lincoln-Way West on Saturday in Lemont. Lemont defeated Lincoln-Way West, 3-0. (Lathan Goumas –

LEMONT – Lemont baseball coach Brian Storako called no pregame meeting.

He gave no fiery speech to fire his guys up Saturday.

The Indians knew what a win meant without a word said.

With playoff seeding less than two weeks away and Lemont, Joliet Catholic Academy and Lincoln-Way West all fighting for the top seed at the IHSA Class 3A JCA Regional, Storako’s squad came through with a huge nonconference win, as Lemont defeating Lincoln-Way West, 3-0, on Saturday.

“Any time you’re playing a team of that caliber, it’s a big win regardless of the circumstances,” Storako said. “West is a good team, maybe we’ll see them again. The players know. They don’t need to hear it from me. They know what’s at stake.”

The win came on the left arm of star senior and LSU-commit Jake Latz. The 6-foot-2 southpaw improved to 4-0, throwing a complete game three-hitter with two walks and 13 strikeouts.

Latz got stronger as the game developed, striking out two in the sixth and striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh for Lemont (20-1).

“I wanted to get ahead in the count,” Latz said. “The first and second time through the lineup, I really wanted to establish my fastball. Once they get used to that, mix in my other pitches. That worked for me today.”

From the dugout, Storako saw the same-old, same-old from his ace, albeit a pretty impressive same-old, same-old.

“I don’t care how hard or soft you’re throwing,” Storako said. “Name of the game is hitting your spots and throwing strikes, and that’s what Jake does well.”

Latz was working with the lead almost immediately, the Indians scoring two runs in the bottom of the first. Ryan Folliard came home from third on a fielder’s choice.

Jake Terrazas added an RBI single that scored Jake Caballero in the first.

“That’s my job as leadoff hitter, get it going, get on base,” Folliard said. “You’ve got to get ahead early. Latz has been untouchable so far this year. Just get a couple runs, and we’ll come out with a win.”

Mike Wisz’s sacrifice fly to right plated Folliard from third in the third to put Lemont up, 3-0.

Latz did not allow a runner to get to second base the rest of the game.

Zach Speaker, Dan Brokop and Ryan Hastings had a single apiece for Lincoln-Way West (21-1).

Dylan Eller threw 32/3 innings for the Warriors, giving up three runs on five hits.

“Tip your hat to them,” Lincoln-Way West coach Jake Zajc said. “We made more mistakes than them, things this late in the season I’m not happy about because we’ve been taking care of business in those phases. When you play in a big game like this, everything gets magnified.”

As for the upcoming regional, Zajc is ready for whoever waits.

“You’re going to have to beat some good teams in the regional,” Zajc said. “It’s good to play this game. It’s intense.”

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