Lane pitcher Jack McLaughlin allowed only one infield hit and struck out seven to lead the Indians (12-10, 9-0) past Von Steuben (10-15, 3-6) 12-0 in five innings at Northeastern University on Wednesday.
The offense wasn’t bad either as Lane collected 11 hits.
“We didn’t give (McLaughlin) much of a challenge,” Von Steuben head coach Mike Cott said after the loss. “Today we hit poorly. He did a nice job throwing strikes and was able to throw his curve ball for strikes. Our bats were not good. He’s an above average pitcher.”
“This game and Mt Carmel, I had my stuff,” admitted McLaughlin who is now 5-4. “My fastball was working well.”
“I think we did well,” Lane head coach Dean Stavrakas said on the victory. “I don’t think we saw front line pitching. I’m not knocking the kid. What we have done consistently since the trip to Florida is play defense.”
Lane had 10 hits off losing pitcher Justin Steinbrunner. The Indians took advantage of six walks and five wild pitches.
“He was struggling,” said Cott.”He was high. He was low. He struggled with his release point. He did not have a good outing.”
Lane put the game away in the second inning scoring six runs while McLaughlin yielded only an infield hit in the first inning.
Spencer Barclay came off the bench and went 2-for-2 with three RBI. William Munoz added three hits as each starter for Lane reached base safely.
“We really (hit) today,” McLaughlin said. “Everybody was hitting. I think everybody got a hit.”
Lane has outscored opponents 67-8 in section after losing nine of its first 12 games.
“I don’t see why we can’t keep playing well,” Stavrakas said. “It’s not ego on my part. If we play one day at a time, I don’t see us having a problem. We can’t worry about Taft on Thursday and Von (Stueben) on Friday.”
Cott thought Lane played a good game, but he was disappointed with his team’s performance.
“We didn’t come to play today,” admitted Cott who guided the Panthers to the Public League quarterfinals last season but lost five starters. “We stunk it up.”
Lane is closing in on a section title, but the Indians still have to play Taft and rival Clemente twice in the next week.
Stavrakas believes his team can win city with pitchers McLaughlin and Cody Davis. Lane is seeking its first CPS baseball title since 2002.
“I think hitting is important but in the big picture good pitching and good defense wins games. I’m not shocked at the offense. I think we have a good offensive ballclub, but pitching and defense are the key to winning.”
The city playoffs begin May 14 while the state playoffs begin on May 22.