Class 3A baseball: Lemont’s Brett Tucker heads up strong young contingent

Sophomore scores Lemont’s second run in eventual 3-2 championship loss to to Crystal Lake Central

Lemont’s Brett Tucker celebrates as he heads home to score against Crystal Lake Central in the IHSA Class 3A Championship game on Saturday June 8, 2024 Duly Health and Care Field in Joliet.

JOLIET — Lemont sophomore Brett Tucker turned in a defensive gem in the bottom of the second inning Saturday in the Class 3A state championship game.

With Crystal Lake Central’s Tommy Korn on first base, Rhett Ozment doubled to left-center. Lemont left fielder Andrew Phelan got to the ball quickly and fired to shortstop Tucker, who was the cutoff man.

Tucker received the throw, quickly pivoted and threw a laser to catcher Noah Tomaras, who tagged out Korn to keep the game scoreless.

“I thought we might have a chance at the guy at home,” Tucker said. “Andrew made a great throw to me, and I was able to make a good throw home.”

Tucker, who was a key offensive figure in Friday’s 6-3 win over Highland with a double and a triple, made his presence felt on the offensive side Saturday.

In the top of the fourth, Tucker reached base on an error and went to second on a wild pitch. Another pitch bounced in, but Crystal Lake Central catcher Sean Kempf was able to block it. Tucker took an extra long secondary lead after seeing the ball in the dirt, and was suddenly caught in no-man’s land between the bases.

As soon as Kempf began running at him, he broke for third. The throw went to second, and Tucker was able to slide in ahead of the throw from second and later scored on a single by teammate Nick Berardi, putting Lemont ahead 2-0 in a game they eventually lost, 3-2.

“I was always taught that if I am in that situation, caught between bases, to go to the next base,” Tucker said. “That’s what I did, and I was able to beat the throw.

“It’s nice that we have a lot of guys returning next year. We feel like we have a solid chance of coming back here.”

Tucker is part of a large young contingent on the Lemont roster, which bodes well for the future of the program that won state titles in 2014 and 2016 and finished second this season. Several players return for Lemont next season, including sophomores Tucker and Cannon Madej and juniors Moe Luciano, Donovan Moleski, Zach Corse, Jack Malak, Rocco Luciano, Nick Reno, Jacob Parr, Tyler Lebak, Alex Capic, Matt Devoy, Shea Glotzbach, Lance DeLude, Connor Wilms and Jake Sulzberger.

“Brett has shown a lot of growth from the beginning of the year until now,” Lemont coach Brian Storako said. “He is very talented, which helps, but he has also worked very hard. He is just scratching the surface of how good he can be.

“We have a lot of kids returning for next year, and that’s exciting. But, we have to stay focused and understand that nothing is given. If we want to come back, we have to continue to work hard.”