All it took was one win for the Leo Lions to claim a Class 1-A Regional baseball title.
The Lions were awarded a forfeit in their first-round game at the Chicago Christian Regional on May 19 when Hansberry Prep couldn’t field enough players. So Leo moved on to the May 21 title game against the host Knights, who also advanced via forfeit when Carver Military Academy came up short of players.
With seniors Evan Hill and P.J. Brown sharing the pitching duties and Everardo “Lalo” Santana going 3-for-3 with two RBIs at the plate, the Lions held off the Knights 6-4 and advanced to the Joliet Catholic Sectional.
There they are decided underdogs. They open against Coal City on Thursday, May 26 at 4:30 p.m. Coal City managed to play 27 games in the spring’s frequently inclement weather and won 19 of them, including an 11-3, second-place showing in the Illinois Central Eight Conference.
Host Joliet Catholic meets University High in the other first-round game, on Wednesday, May 25 at 4:30 p.m. The Hilltoppers were 18-10 overall and placed third in the East Suburban Catholic Conference (behind St. Viator and Marist) at 8-4. The Maroons went 7-6 overall and 6-2 in the Independent Schools League, good for a runner-up finish.
The winners will meet on Saturday, May 28 at 11:30 a.m. for the sectional title and a berth in the Geneseo Supersectional.
“We’re excited to still be playing,” Leo Coach Mike Anderson. “The Chicago Christian game was indicative of the type of ball we’re capable of playing when we eliminate mistakes.”