Baseball: Lake Park stays hot, knocks out New Trier
Under the lights at Triton's Symonds-Puckett Field, Jackson Kent pitched lights out for Lake Park.
The senior surrendered a couple of runs to Class 4A supersectional opponent New Trier in the second inning, but allowed the Trevians only 3 hits over the final 5 frames.
Kent put the icing on the cake in the seventh, striking out the side as the Lancers won 7-2 in River Grove.
"Jackson is an absolute competitor, an absolute bulldog," said Lake Park coach Dan Colucci. "What a gutsy performance tonight. He's our No. 1, and he's the guy you want to have the ball in his hands in games like this."
Lake Park moves on to the state tournament Saturday in Joliet where they will face O'Fallon, a 9-4 winner Monday over Providence, in the semifinals.
"We think that if we play our game, we can beat anybody," said Lancers right fielder Brian Patton. "Jackson really took control tonight. I think maybe in the second inning he had a little bit of jitters, but he really settled in."
Lake Park took a 2-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by junior second baseman Max Baer and designated hitter Nick Wolf's sacrifice fly.
After the Trevians tied it up, the Lancers struck again by scoring twice in the fourth, and again in the fifth.
Max Baer and Kolby Keatts each had RBI singles in the fourth frame, while Danny Rollins and Chris Worcester led off the fifth with base hits and both came around to score.
Lake Park tallied one more in the sixth, but left a few runs on the field when it looked like they were about to break the game open.
"We had a guy thrown out at home," said Colucci, "then we had a bunt (with the bases loaded that a turned into a double play) that just didn't clear the catcher. We could have tacked on a couple more for sure, but with Jackson on the mound, seven will do the job for us."
Kent faced just one over the minimum in innings three through six.
Then came the bottom of the seventh.
"(My mindset was) I was ready to go, here we go," said Kent. "After that second inning I just wanted to come out and throw strikes, just let 'em hit it -- our defense is great, and I knew they'd make all the plays."
And after giving up a leadoff double to start the final frame, Kent fanned the next three and the Lancers' celebration started in earnest.
Giacomo Fanizza finished with 4 hits for Lake Park, while Worcester and Max Baer each had 2 hits.
"This was a huge win," said Colucci. "Not having last year, and not having last summer to work out, we knew we had a very talented group of seniors coming back, but we didn't really know what the character of the team would be once we got into the season. When we got into the games, we got on a roll and just stayed there."
"Now," added Kent, referring to the Lancers trip to Joliet, "we're on a business trip."