skip navigation

Julian Gutierrez, Sandburg get ‘greedy’ in showdown with Lockport

05/08/2014, 9:45pm CDT
By Randy Whalen

Julian Gutierrez lifted a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break open a tie game as the Eagles earned an 8-2 win over Lockport in Thursday's SouthWest Suburban Blue first-place battle.

Before he came to bat in the top of the fourth inning in Thursday's key SouthWest Suburban Blue baseball game, Sandburg senior Julian Gutierrez was advised by assistant coach Chuck Peters "to take the ball the other way."

Now the Eagles hope to take their conference fortunes the other way.

Gutierrez took the advice and jacked a three-run home run over the left-field fence to break an early tie and give the Eagles the lead for good. They went on to an 8-2 victory over Lockport in a first-place showdown at Flink Field in Lockport.

The Eagles (18-5, 9-0) haven't won a conference title since sharing it with Lockport and Lincoln-Way Central in 2010. The Porters (12-12, 7-2) have won at least a share of the conference the last four years.

"Lockport has a good team over there," said Gutierrez, who was 2-for-4. "So we had to be greedy. We wanted to keep getting more hits."

Sandburg had 10 hits off a trio of pitchers. But none was bigger than Gutierrez's fourth-inning blast. With the score 1-1 and two on with none out, he deposited a 1-1 pitch into the jet stream blowing to left. It carried for the three-run blast, his fifth round-tipper of the year, and the Eagles never looked back.

"Before I batted [assistant] coach [Chuck] Peters came up to me and told me to elevate the ball and to take it the other way," Gutierrez said. "So I had to adjust, and it felt good off the bat. The wind was howling that way, so once it got up there I figured it was gone."

The three runs were more than enough for Sandburg senior Sean Leland (5-1). The right-hander went the distance, allowing two earned runs on seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts.

"The support was great," Leland said. "It [three-run lead] made me a little more relaxed, but you can't go out there cocky. You have to still approach it like the score is 1-1."

The Porters did narrow the gap to 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth on a two-out RBI single by Anthony Coco. But Sandburg struck back for four more runs in the fifth. Jim Roche scored on a wild pitch, No. 8 hitter Ben Kociper (3-for-4, two doubles) had a two-run double, and Dan Santiago smacked an RBI single.

"Ben getting hits like that was awesome," Gutierrez said. "There was no time to lay down."

Sandburg took a 1-0 lead in the third when Jim Landgraf laced a two-out double to left. Lockport tied it in the bottom of the inning when Mike Formella (2-for-4) looped an RBI single over first to score Tyler Hair (2-for-4).

"Overall, I'm still pleased," Lockport coach Andy Satunas said. "We got seven hits off a Division I pitcher, and I'm happy with our growth at the plate. We just gave up too many [6] walks."

Leland, who has signed to pitch at Louisville, would love to have a conference crown in his final high school season.

"It would be awesome," he said of winning the SWSC Blue. "I haven't won a conference title as an Eagle on any baseball level."

Popular Stories

  • Vernon Hill's David Dobrik, Nikita Lunkov talk way to state

  • 05/29/2014, 9:45am CDT , By Jon Kerr | For Sun-Times Media | @prepspioneer
  • One game away from being bounced out of a berth in the boys tennis state tournament, the Vernon Hills doubles team of David Dobrik and Nikita Lunkov had a brief conversation with their coach, Doug Gerber.
  • Read More
  • Illinois McDonald's All-Americans

  • 01/29/2014, 10:26pm CST , By Staff Report
  • From 1978 to 2014, Illinois has sent 64 players to the prestigious McDonald's All-American game. Check out a complete list here.
  • Read More
  • Neuqua goes the distance at conference meet

  • 03/16/2013, 3:30pm CDT , By Gene Chamberlain
  • Neuqua Valley finished 1-2 in the 1,600 and 3,200, and also won the 1,600 relay to fuel its second-place finish in the Upstate Eight indoor conference meet at Batavia on Saturday.
  • Read More

Tag(s): Lockport Township  Sandburg  Top News  Featured  Top News  Baseball  Top News  Featured