Baseball: Small ball key to Lake Park’s regional title over Willowbrook

Especially in the postseason, a baseball team might not heat up the bats and it needs to take advantage of whatever opportunities come its way.

Lake Park defeated Willowbrook 4-1 on Saturday to win the Class 4A Willowbrook regional in a contest that had six combined hits.

"We just play to try and get to the next game. Today it was small ball," Lancers coach Dan Colucci said.

That next game is a St. Charles North sectional semifinal on Wednesday at 5 p.m. against York. The Lancers are seeded second, the Dukes third.

Willowbrook (24-11-2) led 1-0 through three innings.

Seth Nelson led off with a double and would later be brought home on a fielding error.

Lake Park (28-8) tied the contest in the fourth. Ryan Colucci reached base on a fielding error and was safe on a throw to the plate as James Kelley took first on the fielder's choice.

The Lancers got a tighter grip on the contest in the fifth with a three-run spurt. Jack Saylor and Derek Ittner reached on singles to center. A throwing error put Dan Dellaria on. Saylor was lifted for courtesy runner Chris Ray and then reentered the game immediately afterwards.

Joe Cicero pitched the last two innings in relief to improve to 9-2 on the season.

"The regional is great, but we don't want to stop here. We want state," Jacob Folkes said.

Lake Park has worked from day one of the regular season as it tried to improve as a team.

"We have had a playoff mentality throughout the season," Ryan Colucci said.