Baseball: Leyden’s Diaz back in the swing of things
Leyden's Joey Diaz went 6-for-7 with four RBI in a win over Morton in a West Suburban Conference Gold Division game. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 4, 2012 11:02AM
Joey Diaz certainly has gotten back into the swing of things for the Leyden baseball team.
The Eagles’ senior missed the entire preseason slate of practices because of a non-sports-related broken hand he suffered at the beginning of February. Diaz was back in action for Leyden’s season opener against Palatine on March 17, but the injury left him behind the curve for the start of his final high school campaign.
“The season was starting, with the team practicing, and I was just there watching,” Diaz said. “It was really frustrating. I had a feeling that I’d be behind because I was late getting started. It took my confidence away for a while.”
Diaz’s confidence is coming back in a big way. Going 6-for-7 with 4 RBIs in wins over Morton on April 24 and over York two days later didn’t hurt.
“It took a couple of weeks into the season for me to start getting my confidence back,” Diaz said. “The coaches have been helping me a lot, and I’ve been feeling better at the plate. Having a couple of good games like that boosts my confidence quite a bit.”
Leyden coach Rob Hamann isn’t surprised to see Diaz getting his groove back.
“Missing so much of the preseason definitely hurt him, but he loves the game and works hard,” Hamann said. “When someone stays with it and continues to work hard, it gives them a much better chance to be able to turn things back around and make good progress.”
Leyden’s 8-2 win over visiting Morton in West Suburban Conference Gold play gave the Eagles (12-8, 4-5) a three-game sweep over the Mustangs.
Senior Dan Schoedel went the distance on the mound for Leyden, striking out eight and walking only one.
The Eagles scored once in the first inning and twice in the second, including a solo home run by Brandon Aguirre, for a 3-0 lead. Morton scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to pull within 3-2. But an RBI single by Diaz and a two-run double by Angel Sanchez keyed a five-run sixth for Leyden. Morton added a run in the top of the seventh.
Sanchez was the winning pitcher for the Eagles in a 9-6 win over conference co-leader York. The senior right-hander struck out five and walked one in six innings on the mound. Ivan Nevarez pitched the seventh to earn the save.
“We had some defensive miscues, but York had some, too, which we were able to take advantage of,” Hamann said.
Leyden took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, but the Dukes scored twice in the bottom half of the frame for a 2-1 advantage. Three runs in the fourth gave the Eagles a 4-2 lead, but York again came back, tying the score at 4-4 with two runs in the bottom of the fifth.
The Eagles broke the game open in the top of the sixth with four runs, including an RBI double by Diaz.
A scheduled conference home doubleheader against league-leading Addison Trail on Saturday was postponed because of rain, and was rescheduled for single games on Monday and Wednesday.
The Eagles are scheduled to host Lyons Township at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, and will visit Proviso East for league doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday.