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Lemont battles back for regional title

JOLIET – With Jake Latz having not allowed an earned run this spring heading into the Class 3A postseason, his Lemont teammates haven't had to do a lot of work with him on the mound.

But that all changed in Saturday's Joliet Catholic regional final.

Trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, the Indians' offense scored six runs in their final three at-bats to pull out a 6-2 win against Lincoln-Way West.

"We battled after getting down early," Lemont coach Brian Storako said. "Jake wasn't hitting all of his spots at first and they hit him hard. But we didn't give up and stuck with it and had a nice comeback win."

The victory was the team's 30th of the spring and gave the program its first regional title since 2011. Lemont was scheduled to play Illiana Christian in a semifinal game of the Lincoln-Way West sectional on Thursday with the winner advancing to Saturday's 11 a.m. championship game.

Last spring, the Indians lost 3-0 to eventual state champion Joliet Catholic in the regional final.

"One of our goals every year is to win a regional no matter what teams are there," Storako said. "They played well and worked hard for that. We are playing well at the right time."

Latz quickly recovered from the rough start to his outing and was back to his dominant self; for the game he allowed just four hits while striking out 13.

"He's obviously been at a high level all year," the coach said. "Against the competition we've faced, for him to be this good has been really impressive. He has worked hard in the offseason and during the season and has really focused on the task at hand."

Nick Wisz had the big hit of the contest as his two-run single in the fourth gave Lemont the lead for good. The sophomore finished 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs. Mike Wisz was 3-for-4 with two runs scored while Mike Papierski and Jake Terrazas combined to walk four times and score three runs.

"Nick is the only sophomore starting every day on a senior-led team," Storako said. "For him to produce like that at that part of the game, at that part of the season is very impressive."

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