Two seniors signed National Letters of Intent to join Division I athletic programs during a special ceremony Wednesday afternoon.
Left-handed pitcher Tyler Jay will play baseball for the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign beginning in 2013. He is the fourth Lemont baseball player in the past two years to earn an NCAA Division I scholarship.
Outfielder Alexis Valone, will play softball in 2013 for Bowling Green State University, which is located in Bowling Green, OH.
Jay has made quite a name for himself since joining head coach Joe Rodeghero's squad his sophomore year.
In two varsity seasons, he has posted a 9-3 record with two saves over 74.2 innings, racking up 102 strikeouts — more than 9.5 per seven innings — along the way. He has a career ERA of 2.91, and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of more than 3.5-to-1.
During his sophomore season, Jay was a perfect 5-0 with a 3.03 ERA. He struck out 32 in 34.2 innings of work, as Lemont went 25-9 overall (16-3 in South Suburban Conference play), won the SSC Blue and captured its second straight IHSA Regional crown.
In 2011, Jay went 4-3 with two saves. He tired for second on the team both in wins and saves. In just 40 innings, he ranked second on the squad with 70 strikeouts — an impressive 12.25 per seven innings. He also ranked second on the team with his 2.80 ERA.
At the plate, he batted .371 last year with eight extra-base hits (six doubles, two triples) and 14 runs batted in. The Indians went 24-9 (16-3 SSC) in 2011, repreated as the SSC Blue champ and won their third straight IHSA Regional title.
Next season, Jay will join former teammate and right-handed pitcher/outfielder Josh Ferry (Class of 2011) on the Illinois baseball roster. Two other members of Lemont's Class of 2011 — shortstop Kevin Goergen (Michigan State) and outfielder Trevor Murphy (Southern Illinois) — also earned Division I scholarships last year.
This fall, Jay has also made an impact on the undefeated Lemont football team. As a wide receiver, he leads the team with 22 receptions, 500 yards receiving and 10 touchdown catches. He also serves as the Indians' punter (39.4 average on 26 punts) and its primary return man on kickoffs (26.2 average on six returns) and punts (15.4 average on seven returns).
Valone has been a force in the middle of Lemont's lineup in each of the past two seasons, and is expected to be a big factor in the team's offensive production this spring. She is a career .379 hitter who has hit nine home runs, driven in 66 runs, scored 56 runs and was successful on 17-of-18 stolen base attempts.
In her first varsity season in 2010, Valone batted a .412 with four home runs and 33 RBIs. She led the team with five triples, and 18 of her 42 hits went for extra bases (nine doubles, five triples and four home runs). She ranked third on the team in batting average, second in slugging percentage (.716) and was perfect on nine stolen base attempts.
In 2011, Valone batted .344 with five home runs and 33 RBIs, earning All-South Suburban Conference honors. Nearly half of her 32 hits went for extra bases, and she ranked second on the team in both triples (four) and home runs (five).
Head coach Chris Traina's Indians have posted a 50-19 record and won consecutive IHSA Regional titles over the past two years.
Valone is a member of the Lemont Rockers club softball program, and is a high honor roll student at Lemont High School.
Information provided by Tony Hamilton, director of school and community relations for Lemont High School District 210.