By Dominic Scianna
Lane Tech senior Hans Flynn called his team together for a late game pep talk with it trailing Taft 8-5 in the final inning of the CPL 16-inch Softball City Championship game held at Clemente High School on September 30.
His words of encouragement sparked a four-run walk-off rally, leading Lane to a come-from-behind 9-8 victory over the Eagles, highlighted by none other than Flynn, whose clutch game-winning, two-out hit set off a wild celebration.
“We had to rally the boys and get the energy up. We’ve been doing it all year and as soon as we get the ball rolling, we’re not going to stop,” said Flynn. “I knew when I stepped in the box that it was time to GO, and it was the last chance we (the seniors) would have to do this (win a championship) together.”
The victory marked the second consecutive year that the Champions ended the season as CPS 16-inch Softball city title winners.
Taft pitcher Nathan Schnur had stifled the Lane Tech bats for most of the game allowing just six hits, but the momentum turned in the bottom of the 7th inning after an error opened the door for the comeback. Two runs scored on the error and the game stood in the balance as the Eagles held on to a slim 8-7 lead.
That’s when Milo Solin tripled to the fence in left centerfield to tie the game at 8-8 to set up the dramatic finish.
“Tom (Angstgen, Taft head coach) and his team did a heck of a job keeping us on our toes and challenging us by playing solid defense,” said Lane Tech head coach Mario Nunez. “Ultimately we found the holes and took advantage of our chances to get some big hits when we needed them.”
The Eagles were led by Schnur’s pitching and hitting going 2-4 at the plate while driving in three runs, along with Andrew Kopolis (2-4, two doubles and an RBI) and Henry Malarski (1-3, 2 runs scored).
Lane countered with strong performances by Flynn (2-4, 1 RBI) and Solis (1-3, 1 RBI), to go with Hunter Smith (1-2, 2 RBI’s), Jarred Harris (a double and an RBI), and pitcher Alex Land.
In the CPS 16-inch softball semifinals, Lane beat Lindblom 8-3 and Taft defeated Northside College Prep 16-6.