Last year, Drew Lane and Logan Jones got to experience the Peru Senior League baseball team’s run to the Central Region Tournament championship game.
Now, their teammates on the 2019 Peru squad get to experience the Central Region Tournament.
Behind strong pitching from Lane and a 12-run inning, Peru routed La Salle 17-3 in five innings on Monday to win the District 20 Tournament and earn a Central Region Tournament berth for the second year in a row.
“It means everything,” Peru manager Butch Shepard said. “I love to see these kids be rewarded for their effort.”
Peru struck early against La Salle’s depleted pitching staff with four runs in the second inning.
Jayce Ladzinski drew a walk to start the inning and Lane followed with a single. Jake Delaney drew a walk to load the bases.
Augie Wiesbrock drove in a run on a fielder’s choice to put runners on first and third.
When Wiesbrock took second, Lane got caught in a rundown between third and home but managed to cross home plate to give Peru a 2-0 lead.
Tyreke Fortney brought in a run with a groundout before Corey Walker singled and later scored on an error.
“That always helps immensely,” Shepard said about Peru’s ability to run and take extra bases. “When we got this team together, we picked a lot of speed. That’s definitely a big help for us.”
Peru exploded in the fourth inning as it sent 17 batters to the plate and scored 12 runs to take a 16-0 lead.
Peru recorded seven hits and took advantage of three La Salle errors during the inning.
Jones hit a two-run double and Ladzinski had a two-RBI single in the inning. Fortney and Joey Shepard each hit an RBI triple. Fortney came in to score on his triple as the La Salle second baseman held the ball.
Walker, Shepard, Jones, Colin Nave and Ladzinski each scored a pair of runs during the fourth.
“We just had the momentum going,” Butch Shepard said. “The team was all wound up and happy. They were firing on all cylinders and kept hitting the ball.”
La Salle manager Jay Urbanski wasn’t surprised by the outcome with his team’s lack of pitching.
“We kind of knew what the outcome was going to be, so we came out and had some fun,” Urbanski said. “We had a kid who just left on vacation who was supposed to pitch. We only had four pitchers on this team. We played a nine-inning game against Streator (on Sunday) and that ran us thin.
“We are a really good team. It’s just tough playing back-to-back four games in a row with four pitchers.”
Lane provided Peru all the pitching it needed as he tossed a complete game. He allowed three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts and three walks.
Peru backed up Lane with a solid defensive effort.
Peru did not commit an error and turned a key double play to end a bases-loaded situation in the second.
La Salle’s Kaden Guynn grounded back to Lane, who looked toward second before throwing to first base.
Jones then threw home and Ladzinski tagged out Josye Bustos to end the inning.
“(Lane) pitched right over the top,” Butch Shepard said. “He was real, real solid. He did not have a lot of walks. He was smart with it. He did a very good job.
“We played solid defense. We talked before the game about how we had to play real solid defense. We told them that’s what’s going to win us the game.”
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.