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Article updated: 5/31/2013 10:55 PM

Nerves settled, Lisle shocks Teutopolis

Lisle’s Alex Ventrella celebrates the Lions’ IHSA state semifinal baseball victory over Teutopolis with his team. The Lions defeated the Wooden Shoes 2-1 to advance to Saturday’s title game at Dozer Park in Peoria.

Lisle's Alex Ventrella celebrates the Lions' IHSA state semifinal baseball victory over Teutopolis with his team. The Lions defeated the Wooden Shoes 2-1 to advance to Saturday's title game at Dozer Park in Peoria.

 

PhotoNews/Clark Brooks

After making diving stop, Lisle’s Cliff Krause makes a throw to first for an out in their IHSA state semifinal baseball game against Teutopolis. The Lions defeated the Wooden Shoes 2-1 to advance to Saturday’s title game at Dozer Park in Peoria.

After making diving stop, Lisle's Cliff Krause makes a throw to first for an out in their IHSA state semifinal baseball game against Teutopolis. The Lions defeated the Wooden Shoes 2-1 to advance to Saturday's title game at Dozer Park in Peoria.

 

PhotoNews/Clark Brooks

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The most teeth-chattering nerves Ryan Van Volkenburg ever felt finally began to settle down after he threw his second pitch of the game.

The Lisle senior served up a solo home run in the Class 2A semifinals.

"My nerves were crazy," the left-handed pitcher said. "It's the worst nerves I've ever had. But that home run really kind of relaxed me. I was able to just pitch and have fun after that."

The entire team had fun as the Lions pulled off a stunning upset of Teutopolis with Friday's 2-1 victory at Dozer Park in Peoria.

Lisle (22-10) will play for the Class 2A baseball championship at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The Lions face Saturday morning's winner between Eureka and Pleasant Plains, the second semifinal game that was suspended due to weather with Eureka holding a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.

As one of the state's elite teams regardless of class, Teutopolis (29-4) was heavily favored to take home its third state title in the last four years. Instead, Lisle will vie for the program's first state title.

"You've got to play the best at this point, so I think it was good for us to face a team like that," said Lions coach Pete Meyer. "You just never know what's going to happen in baseball."

Van Volkenburg improved to 6-1 on the season with a complete-game effort against a Wooden Shoes lineup that boasted 27 home runs and had four players batting at least .400. Teutopolis stranded eight runners as Van Volkenburg avoided surrendering the big hit.

Lisle was outhit 8-4 but managed a pair of runs off Teutopolis starter Kyle Pruemer (7-2) in the top of the third inning when Cliff Krause began a two-out rally by reaching on an error. Alex Ventrella drove in Krause with a single, and Kevin Coppin scored Ventrella with a single.

Van Volkenburg and an errorless defense made it through the final six innings without succumbing to the Wooden Shoes' potent lineup. Teutopolis put the leadoff man aboard in the bottom of the sixth, but he was soon picked off. That turned out to be a huge play as the next hitter doubled.

With the biggest victory in program history in hand, Lisle now has a chance at something even bigger in Saturday's title game. The Lions will send Ventrella (6-1) to the mound.

"We weren't even expected to win the regional, and here we are," Van Volkenburg said. "It's just an unreal feeling right now."

Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit

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