The Lisle Lions needed Jared Jayne to give them a chance in a critical road game against Sandwich Tuesday.
The senior pitcher's response couldn't have been much better.
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Jayne no-hit the Indians in seven innings Tuesday, striking out four and walking three as the Lions won 8-0. The victory allowed Lisle (28-5, 13-1) to clinch the Interstate Eight Conference North Division's regular-season title.
Sandwich started the day second in the division.
"This was a big game for us," Lisle coach Pete Meyer said. "We wanted to get this one."
Jayne kept Lisle close and improved to 6-0 on the season when the Lions exploded for five runs in the decisive third inning.
He was in control from the start, baffling Sandwich batters with his three-pitch arsenal -- fastball, curve and changeup -- to lower his season ERA to 1.31.
Meyer said he couldn't tell which of Jayne's pitches was more effective Tuesday. Everything was working.
"He had (Sandwich) off balance the whole day," Meyer said.
The closest the Indians came to a hit was in the fourth inning when a flyball nearly found its way onto the centerfield grass. Junior Ryan Van Volkenburg ranged over and made a diving catch to preserve the no-hit bid.
"That was early enough that you didn't really know," Meyer said. "But you look back and think, 'That was a big play.' "
Jayne's gem wasn't the only no-hitter of the past seven days.
On May 2 Willowbrook junior Dave Cericola and senior Mark Garbacz combined to hold Proviso West hitless as the Warriors won 13-0 in five innings. Cericola started the game, pitching two innings and striking out five of the six batters he faced. Garbacz entered with Willowbrook leading 6-0 and shut down Proviso West the rest of the way.
Willowbrook coach Vic Wisner said Garbacz, who has made just three appearances all season, earned his time on the mound in practice.
"He works really hard," Wisner said. "It's paying off."
Cericola -- the Warriors' No. 1 starter -- only started the game to shake off any rust that accumulated after several rainouts. He followed that performance with a hard-luck 1-0 loss to Downers Grove South on Saturday in which he lowered his season ERA to 0.94 in 52 innings.
"He's not a big kid in stature, but I'd be hard-pressed to say I've seen a better pitcher than him this year," Wisner said.
York to duke it out for conference title:
York coach Dave Kalal started by hinting that his team could really benefit by winning a three-game series against Oak Park-River Forest. Then he suggested that the Dukes try to sweep Hinsdale Central.
The Dukes were up for both tasks. Kalal's next goal is a little bit bigger.
"We want to win conference," he said Tuesday.
Kalal said York hasn't won a West Suburban Conference Silver Division title since 1993, but the Dukes have a chance to do just that after a recent run that has seen them win six of their past eight games. York is 5-0 in conference play during that stretch, including two wins over Oak Park and the three-game sweep of Hinsdale Central that ended Friday.
"We spoke to the kids about the importance of getting the (Hinsdale Central) sweep," Kalal said. "That was a series we needed."
"In our conference, getting a sweep of anybody is difficult."
York beat Morton 5-4 on Tuesday to raise its record to 18-9 (12-3 in the West Suburban Silver), but the road gets tougher this week when the Dukes wrap up league play with a three-game series against Lyons Twp.
The defending Class 4A state champs will come to York for a Saturday doubleheader before concluding the series at Lyons Twp. on Tuesday. Kalal said the Lions have two losses in region play, putting them just ahead of the Dukes.
York will rely on a rock-solid defense that is averaging about two errors per game and a strong pitching staff that features aces Louis Alcarez and Greg Castello. Castello sports a 1.87 ERA and played a critical role in York's sweep of Hinsdale Central, entering Friday's game in the fifth inning when the Dukes trailed 6-5 and holding the opposition to one hit the rest of the way.
Another sweep could give the Dukes that elusive conference crown. Is it realistic?
"That's a tough task," Kalal said. "Their kids know how to win."
Naperville North did something on Tuesday that it hasn't done in three weeks -- lose.
The Huskies dropped a 5-3 road decision to Naperville Central, losing for the first time since April 17. Naperville North won a remarkable 12 consecutive games during that span, racking up series sweeps against Oswego East, West Chicago, Glenbard East and West Aurora.
In the meantime the Huskies transformed their record from a disappointing 5-11 to 17-12 -- including an 11-5 mark in DuPage Valley Conference play -- and climbed to No. 15 in the Daily Herald's Top 20.