Simeon Tops Lane for Boys Baseball Title
Simeon (27-7) won its first city title since 2004 as Shane Brown outdueled Jack McLaughlin.
Brown allowed two hits and had 13 strikeouts in a 2-1 win over Lane (21-13). McLaughlin settled down after allowing two runs in the opening inning. McLaughlin (7-6) yielded eight hits with five strikeouts.
Simeon lost last year's city title game to Harlan at US Cellular Field while Lane was seeking its first championship plaque since 2002.
"It was our turn to get a city championship," Simeon catcher Blake Hickman said after the win. "Last year, it hurt bad. We didn't want the same feeling."
"There are no words to tell how disappointing this loss is(for us)," McLaughlin said.
Simeon scored twice in the first inning on back-to-back doubles by Brown and Hickman.
Brown retired the first 12 Lane hitters and struck two batters to seal the win.
"He's a good pitcher," Lane first-year head coach Dean Stavrakas said. "We saw him last year. He threw the ball really well tonight. He was the best I think we've seen this year."
"I had nerves going out there," McLaughlin admitted after the trophy presentation at UIC. "They started out strong. They started swinging the bats really well."
McLaughlin gave up two runs on three hits in the first inning, but the junior pitched five scoreless innings to keep Lane in contention.
Lane broke up the no-hit bid by Brown in the fifth inning on a single by Mike Henry. Pinch runner Rudy Vargas was thrown out at the plate by Simeon center fielder Corey Ray on the single by Vargas.
Lane nearly rallied in the last inning as Brown threw a wild pitch which cut the lead to 2-1.
The Indians had runners at second and third as Brown struck out Walter Nolan-Cohn and Henry to end the contest.
"We were right there," Stavrakas. "It's a game of inches. It's a tough loss."
"I was confident in my pitcher,"Hickman stated on the seventh inning.
"I wasn't nervous," said Brown. "I was more disappointed in myself. I haven't done that the whole game. I didn't want to give it up without a fight."
Brown had an interesting night with two hits, a wild pitch in the fianl inning, one throwing error in the seventh inning, and 13 strikeouts to seal a city title.
Lane began the seventh with a walk. A wild pitch by Brown led to Lane's first run. Brown recovered from his throwing error to strikeout the last two hitters.
"I'm very happy we are city champions once again," Simeon head coach LeRoy Franklin said on the victory.
Both teams will now shift its focus to the state playoffs that begin this week.