Baseball: Highland Park takes second in the North Suburban Colt League tournament
Highland Park''s Zach Nankin makes the scoop at first baseduring Colt League regular season action in late June. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 20, 2012 10:49AM
HIGHLAND PARK — Despite jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, Highland Park was topped by Lombard Lightning Blue 9-5 in the North Suburban Colt League championship game.
The title tilt was held July 8.
Lombard scored five runs in the third inning to take a 5-3 lead, and after HP cut the advantage to 5-4 with a single tally in the top of the fourth, Lombard posted a three-spot in the bottom of the frame to go up 8-4. The Giants cut it to 8-5 in the fifth, and Lombard finished the scoring with a run in the sixth.
After reaching on an infield single to start the first inning, Oren Spungen scored HP’s first run, dashing home as teammate Johnny Simone stole second base. Zach Nankin then singled in Simone for a 2-0 lead, and starting pitcher Charlie Elias helped his own cause with an RBI double to complete the three-run outburst.
Highland Park — which finished NSCL play at 12-10 overall — loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third, but Lombard pitcher Jake Cady escaped the jam unscathed. The Giants scored their fourth run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Simone, scoring Jason Lowenthal, who reached on a walk to begin the frame.
Cady retired the first two HP batters in the fifth inning before surrendering a triple to Dom Ciancio, who scored on a single by Eric Schwartz. Trailing 9-5 after six, the Giants loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh but failed to score.
Pitchers duel: Highland Park reached the championship game with a 3-0 win over Niles Braves Red in the semifinals, as Giants hurler Nankin earned the decision with a four-hit shutout, striking out five in the process.
The Giants broke a scoreless tie in the top of the seventh. With one out, pinch-hitter Dan Wagner drew a walk, and was replaced by pinch-runner Elias. After Schwartz singled to put runners at first and second, Justin Halpern blooped an RBI single behind first base, making it 1-0.
Spungen then was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Casey Maione followed with a two-run single to finish what proved to be the winning rally, as Nankin shut the door in the bottom of the seventh.
Sizzling start: The Giants advanced to the semis with a 14-4 win Loyola, powered by a 10-run explosion in the first inning.
Elias notched the win on the mound, allowing four runs on six hits and six walks, while fanning three.
Dion Ciancio, Simone and Nankin each had three RBIs in the win, and Spungen added two RBIs.