Homewood-Flossmoor pitcher Dan Lietz has the perfect poker face.
You would not know if he is mowing down opposing batters or they are having their way with him. Well, very seldom do hitters have their way with the crafty lefthander.
"I try not to show emotion and keep my calm," Lietz said. "It is important that you don't show emotion and let the other team know if you are hurting."
It isn't that Lietz doesn't sometimes get upset at himself or a call, but he puts it behind him.
"You have to because you have to go on to the next play," Lietz said. "I think if you don't let things get to you, you will be a better player."
He said listening to rapper 2 Chainz before a game is how he gets motivated.
"I just like it (the music) and it is how I get ready to pitch," Lietz said.
Lietz, who will attend Heartland Community College in Normal, has been one of the reasons the Vikings won the Class 4A Homewood-Flossmoor Regional. He is 9-4 and has struck out 123 in 67 innings. At the plate, Lietz is batting .351 with 10 doubles, four homers and 17 RBIs.
H-F will play Lincoln-Way North at 4:30 p.m. today in one semifinal of the Andrew Sectional. The Vikings beat the Phoenix 10-1 on April 9 as Lietz struck out 14 and threw a two-hitter. H-F coach Todd Sippel said Lietz will pitch this afternoon.
"That was one of my best games of the year," Lietz said. "I know they are a tough team and my good friend Dominic Hartman is on the team. I hit him, but not on purpose, when we played them the first time."
H-F coach Todd Sippel said Lietz is among the best to ever take the mound for the Vikings.
"I've coached both John Ely and Aaron Hauge, and Danny is right with them," Sippel said. "His stuff is electric. Not only is he a lefty throwing 90 miles per hour, he knows how to pitch, with a fantastic slider and splitty (split-fingered fastball). He's a special player, and it's been an honor to coach him."
Lietz said that has been the key to his success.
"I try to keep the hitters guessing and challenge them," Lietz said. "I don't have to throw a fastball every pitch. I have confidence in my other pitches and I have confidence in my fielders that I don't have to strike everyone out."