Lisle's baseball program returned to familiar ground on Saturday.
That meant standing in the middle of the diamond and posing for pictures with a shiny new regional plaque.
After a two-year absence the Lions claimed the Class 2A IC Catholic Prep regional title with a 7-0 victory over Timothy Christian at Redmond Park in Bensenville.
"Freshman year was the last time we won a regional, so it was about time to get another one," said Lions senior pitcher Ryan Van Volkenburg. "Last year we had such high expectations to win a regional, sectional, even farther than that. It didn't work out so we came back with some weight on our shoulders. Getting this win is a big relief."
Last year's team won 30 games but couldn't escape regional play. With Van Volkenburg on the mound Saturday and an offense that kept tacking on runs, the Lions emerged easily over Timothy Christian (8-18), which advanced to the final by upsetting top-seeded Westmont.
Van Volkenburg pitched a 3-hitter with 7 strikeouts and no walks, getting out of his biggest jam in the top of the third inning when the Trojans stranded runners on second and third. A fifth-inning opportunity was thwarted when a dropped third strike sent a runner on third into an inning-ending rundown.
Luke Davidson had 2 of Timothy Christian's 3 hits.
"We just couldn't get a big hit when we needed it," said Trojans coach Jim Snoeyink, whose team won seven of 10 games after starting the season 1-14. "He did a great job keeping us off balance. When we had a chance to cut it to 4-2 in the third inning, anything could have happened at that point."
Adam Grego's sacrifice fly and Cliff Krause's RBI groundout put the Lions ahead 2-0 in the second inning. A fourth-inning single by Bailey Welch, aided by an error, brought home 2 more runs.
The lead grew to 5-0 in the fifth when Brian Czyl doubled and scored on Jake Oard's double. Van Volkenburg received even more insurance in the sixth when Krause and he added run-scoring singles.
"Our seniors were talking about winning this for last year," said Lisle coach Pete Meyer. "They've been wanting this since the very first day we met as a team. It's been their focus all season long, so that makes it pretty sweet."
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