CHICAGO | Lyons Township knocked Mount Carmel down early and the Caravan could not recover Saturday at Haggerty Field.
The Lions scored five times in the first inning and went on to a 9-1 win over the Caravan to win the Class 4A Mount Carmel Sectional. The defending Class 4A champs knocked off favorite St. Laurence on Wednesday and shocked the Caravan (32-6) in the sectional final.
"They hit the ball well and hit it where we weren't," Mount Carmel losing pitcher T.J. Laurisch said. "They got the 5-0 lead and that made it tough.'
Laurisch, who threw 20 pitches in Friday's win over St. Rita, said that was no excuse for the tough inning.
"I might have been tired a little bit, but that wasn't the reason I struggled," Laurisch said. "They are a good team and they hit a few between (shortstop) Jerry (Houston) and (second baseman) Justin (Gonzalez). Their pitcher (Keith Lehmann) was pretty good, too."
Lehmann allowed just four hits and one run. He said the 5-0 advantage certainly relaxed him.
"It sure did," Lehmann said. "Any time you get a lead on a good time like Mount Carmel, that eases you and you can just worry about getting guys out.
"I got a lot of support."
The Lions (25-12) added a run in the second and two more in the third. They added another run in the sixth.
Lyons Township will face Marist at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Class 4A Standard Bank Supersectional.
Lehmann (9-2) retired the first 10 Caravan hitters before Laurisch singled and Gonzalez doubled. Sam Kint's long fly to center scored Laurisch.
These two teams met in one state semifinal last year with Lyons Township winning 4-1. The two teams have met five times since 2002 with the Lions holding a 3-2 advantage.
"They are a class program and I like playing them," Mount Carmel coach Brian Hurry said. "They don't grandstand in the dugout. They go out and play ball and play the game how it should be played."
That included Saturday.
"They jumped on us early and got good pitching," Hurry said. "They got some big hits and took advantage of it."