CRESTWOOD – When Lemont scored three runs in the first inning for ace lefty Jake Latz, the Indians were well on their way toward achieving another first in the 2014 season.
Lemont put up four more runs in the fourth after scoring once in the third and went on to an 11-1, six-inning victory Monday night over De La Salle in the Class 3A Crestwood Supersectional at Standard Bank Stadium.
The first supersectional title for Lemont (33-5) puts the Indians in the state semifinals Friday at Silver Cross Field against Metamora, a 10-0 winner over Sycamore.
“Having Jake on the mound, you just have to get a couple, let him do his thing,’’ Mike Wisz said. “We were happy we could support him and let him relax on the mound and do what he did.’’
“His velocity was up there,’’ catcher Mike Papierski said of his batterymate. “At times he didn’t have the best curveballs, but his changeup was on and his fastball. So we had two pitches working.’’
Offensively, Papierski and Wisz were two of the main contributors. Papierski (2 for 3) tripled into the right-field corner to drive in the first run and doubled home a run in the four-run fourth.
Wisz, the Indians’ 6-foot-3, 215-pound designated hitter, doubled home two runs in the fifth and scored three runs.
Leadoff hitter Danny Dowiarz was 2 for 3 and scored twice. Nick Wisz had two RBIs singles, including one in the first inning.
“That was our goal, to come out quick and come out strong, put up a couple runs early,’’ Lemont coach Brian Storako said. “It takes the pressure off Jake, takes the pressure off our players.’’
Latz had nine strikeouts in 51/3 innings and allowed three hits and one unearned run. Charlie Wright got the final two outs.
“I was able to establish the fastball early and get that going,’’ Latz said. “Once I started mixing the pitches, it was good. It kept them off balance.’’
Lemont chased De La Salle starting pitcher Alex Padilla after three innings.
“We’re just glad we could get to him and hit some balls hard and get some runs,’’ Mike Wisz said. “It was a good thing we got it early. That always takes the pressure off.’’
Papierski keeps the focus on Latz when he’s on the mound.
“I just try to get the best out of him, every inning, every pitch,’’ Papierski said. “We need everything out of him every pitch. When he doesn’t finish his pitches, I make sure I tell him.’’
Latz knows where he wants the Indians to finish the season.
“I’m going to keep working hard from here and hopefully we can win state this year,’’ he said. “That’s what’s on my mind right now.’’
“It’s an awesome ride,’’ Mike Wisz said. “We’re loving every second of it. Don’t want to stop now, just want to keep going.’’
Storako isn’t worried about his team enjoying the ride too much too soon.
“We’ve been working on staying grounded and keeping that mental process going,’’ Storako said. “This is going to be that tough week because it’s not a day off and then play.
“You’ve got a week of thinking about it and reading about it and everything like that. We embrace it. This is something they may never experience again. Enjoy it, but understand you’re there for one reason only.’’