NAPERVILLE – Prairie Ridge experienced a bit of deja vu during Thursday’s Phil Lawler Summer Classic championship game, as it found itself dealing with a stellar performance from an opposing pitcher for the second time in a little more than 16 hours.
After narrowly getting by Lyons in Wednesday's semifinals, the Wolves weren't as fortunate against Plainfield South senior Griffin Lapp, who delivered a gem of an outing and sent Prairie Ridge to a 9-1 loss at North Central College.
Lapp surrendered one earned run on three hits in a seven-inning outing. He picked up five strikeouts and walked one along the way. In addition to securing the trophy for Plainfield South, his second win of the tournament also aided Lapp in procuring the Summer Classic MVP award.
“I think [Lapp] was good. He threw a fastball, breaking ball and change, so he had a good mix of pitches, and he used them well," Prairie Ridge coach Glen Pecoraro said. He could throw any one of those three pitches for a strike. He definitely did a good job of working fast and keeping us off-balance. Obviously, over the last two games we didn’t hit much, but we saw really good pitching the last two days.
The Wolves were able to strike first with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second, but it was a fitting metaphor for the day’s events on the whole that their only highlight came when Ben Harris scampered home from third as the Cougars turned a slick, 6-4-3 double play to cut down Luke Fiantago and deny him an RBI.
“They did everything right today – they swung [the bat] well, they made every play on defense and they put on a bunting clinic,” Pecoraro said. “I tip my hat to them. They did everything well. If you’re going to get beat, if it’s a team that plays at that high of a level, I can live with that.”
Upon escaping the jam relatively unscathed, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way for Lapp. The Wolves never really mounted another threat.
Meanwhile, the wheels fell off quickly for Prairie Ridge starter Braden Harrell. The Cougars pushed across seven runs in the third inning to blow the game open.
Harrell was on the hook for six of those runs before finally being chased from the mound with one out in the inning. He was touched up for six earned runs in 2 ⅓ innings, allowing five hits, three walks and a hit batsman over that span to take the loss.
Although the tournament ended on a sour note, Harris and the Wolves shared their coach’s positive feelings about the tournament as a whole. After all, the primary goals of summer competition are growth and development – two things they feel they showed plenty of during a the deep run.
“It’s kind of a bummer now, but I think we did really well this summer. It was a success,” he said. “We did everything pretty well, and I think we’re going to be in a good spot this spring.”
Along with teammates Dominic Listi and Alex Powers, Harris was named to the Phil Lawler Summer Classic All-Tournament team.
STAR OF THE GAME
Griffin Lapp, Plainfield South, Sr., SP
Lapp put on a surgical display, using his pinpoint command of the strike zone to frustrate opposing hitters. His two wins and tournament-high five RBIs were enough to earn the senior MVP honors.
7: Runs for Plainfield South as it took control in the third inning.
AND ANOTHER THING...
Despite Thursday’s ignominious end to the Summer Classic, Prairie Ridge were able to leave Naperville on a high note as Ben Harris, Dominic Listi and Alex Powers were all named to the All-Tournament Team.