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Locals help Celts win state crown

  • Written by Frank Gogola

  While baseball features individual duals within each game, a cohesive team is necessary to weather the ups and downs of a typical season.

  Orland Park natives Ben Salvador and Matt Diehl were not on Providence Catholic coach Mark Smith’s preseason list of projected starters, but both wound up helping the Celtics capture the Class 4A championship Saturday in Joliet.
  Salvador’s absence from that list was understandable: He hadn’t played baseball as a junior, choosing instead to focus his athletic energies on soccer. But when another Orland resident, outfielder Matt Payton, suffered an elbow injury in hockey and was forced to miss the 2014 baseball campaign, Salvador’s presence on the roster suddenly became more meaningful.
  “Ben stepped in from the first day and never looked back,” Smith said. “He was our catalyst offensively all season long from that leadoff spot.”

Summer baseball roundup

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Knights are already in midseason form

  While the spring baseball campaign officially ended less than a week ago, Chicago Christian’s summer squad is already operating at midseason form.
  At least that was true five games into the schedule, as the Knights picked up wins in each. Included among the conquered foes were Walther Christian (9-1), Romeoville (10-0), Stagg (7-5), Andrew (8-5) and Illiana Christian (10-9).
  Since rain interrupted play for a couple days at a number of sites, Chicago Christian’s ability to see action that many times was in itself noteworthy. Even more surprising has been the manner in which the Knights have prevailed.
  “The offense has been very solid so far,” said coach Eric Brauer, whose squad’s biggest weakness in the spring was a somewhat meager attack. “We’re getting a lot of contributions from a lot of different guys. We’re playing pretty well and I’m pleased with it.”
  Christian is returning 12 players from its 17-man spring roster, so the varsity experience is an obvious plus.
  “We haven’t seen any real dominant pitching,” Brauer said. “You’re not going to see a lot of aces because they’re playing travel ball. That contributes [to our production] a little bit, too, but our seniors are really leading well with a good attitude.”

Sandburg settles for second best

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

State title string stops at five

  Sandburg’s softball team was three innings away from keeping the streak alive.
  After rallying, the Lady Eagles held a 3-2 lead over Warren four innings into Saturday's Class 4A championship contest in East Peoria. Sandburg couldn't maintain that advantage, however, and suffered an 8-4 loss.
  A second-place state finish was still better than most would have predicted for a team that had lost 15 games during the regular season, but when the Lady Eagles couldn't reach the mountaintop an impressive school run was officially halted.

Fairy-tale season ends against Warren

  • Written by Frank Gogola

The postseason's feel-good story lacked an appropriate ending.

Being runner-up is certainly nothing of which to be ashamed, however, and that's where Sandburg landed after Warren defeated it 8-4 in the Class 4A softball final Saturday in East Peoria. The Lady Eagles were ahead 3-2 after four innings but were unable to hang onto the lead.
What made Sandburg's playoff run so impressive was that it followed a somewhat average regular season, one in which the Lady Eagles lost 15 times. But after dropping a decision to Lockport on May 23, Sandburg found another gear and peeled off seven straight victories to position itself opposite Warren.
Pitcher Sarah Herold cited the Lady Eagles' 4-3 triumph over Barrington in 13 innings one day after the setback against Lockport as the key element in their revival.
“Barrington, they’re a good team — everybody knows it,” Herold said after Sandburg's supersectional conquest of Naperville Central. “For us to just beat them, I think it really motivated us.
“[It was] like, ‘Listen, guys, we can do this. Yeah, we lost to Lockport or [Lincoln-Way] East, but we beat Barrington.’”
Herold, a postseason fixture for the Lady Eagles (24-16), battled uncharacteristic wildness early on versus Warren as she put two batters aboard in the top of the second inning by hitting them with pitches. That set the table for a two-run double.

Bartosh

Rodman decides to do the write thing

(Reprinted from Feb. 7, 2013)

  Hey, Dr. Seuss, guess what? You have company.
  Children’s books are an important component of the literary world. While they may seem trite to adults, we’re no longer looking at them through innocent eyes or with an untainted conscience.
  Of course, many of us would probably benefit from a rereading. Based on the public actions I witness from a fair amount of folks these days, long forgotten are basic niceties such as politeness, honesty, sharing and showing consideration for others.
  And if a barnyard animal or talking piece of machinery happens to be the one instructing us in print, the message is no less important. Maybe they’ll succeed where Dr. Phil has failed.
  There is a knack, though, to composing a book that is designed to attract a very young audience. Heavy-handedness won’t work, and the morality tale must be presented in a simple, yet effective manner.