2014 All-Area Softball Team


  • Wyderski again led the way at the plate and in the field for the Lady RedHawks and secured a second consecutive Player of the Year honor from this paper in the process. The Loyola University-bound shortstop batted a solid .492 with respective on-base and slugging percentages of .566 and .894 while racking up 65 hits in 132 at-bats over 39 games. Wyderski included 13 homers, 12 doubles and a triple among her hits, drew 19 walks, scored 55 times and drove in 50 runs. One of her best days of the spring was against East Suburban Catholic Conference foe St. Viator when she went 4-for-4 with two homers, six RBI and four runs as Marist swept a doubleheader. Wyderski also went deep twice in an ESCC twinbill versus Joliet Catholic Academy, and her game-tying round-tripper set the Lady RedHawks up for an eventual regional championship-clinching win over Lyons Township.

McAllister stepping down as SXU coach

 After putting a face on St. Xavier University’s men’s cross country and track programs, Ed McAllister will become just a face in the crowd.

  McAllister, who guided the Cougars’ original cross country team in 1976 and then brought SXU into national prominence during his current decade-long tenure, has announced his retirement. He had coached the track team since its inception in 2006.

It’s good with wood

  • Written by Frank Gogola

 Shepard continues a long-standing summertime tradition

  Baseball is a game in which failure is much more common than success.
  Nowhere else would an individual be considered an above-average performer when he makes good only 30 percent of the time. But no one criticizes a .300 hitter.
  As a coach, Frank DiFoggio understands that as well as anyone. He also realized long ago that being properly schooled in fundamentals is the best way for a player to maximize his potential.
  And that isn’t only true for those who toil at the sport’s highest level.
  In fact, a dedication to the basics is probably more important for a high school athlete whose skills are still in the developmental stage. However, the standard use of aluminum bats often allowed athletes to play through flaws by enabling them to send balls flying even on desperation swings.
  In 2004, DiFoggio decided to try something radical to ensure that his Shepard players wouldn’t rely on shortcuts. In the summer of that year, he had the Astros use wood bats for the first time.

Summer baseball roundup

  • Written by Ken Karrson

New names keeping Vikings formidable

  Tom Farrell, Dan Heiden, Anthony Robles — those individuals may be ones opposing batters eventually come to fear.
  Foes probably breathed a sigh of relief when St. Laurence bid farewell to pitchers Mike Kornacker and Brad Wood this spring. Those two, along with 2013 graduate Zach Lewis, comprised one of the Chicagoland area’s most talented pitching rotations of recent vintage, so their departures were undoubtedly welcomed outside of Burbank.
  But while the names are changing, the Vikings’ fortunes may not be, at least if last week’s summer results are any sort of accurate barometer. Farrell, Heiden and Robles all took turns starring on the hill as St. Laurence went 3-1 and stayed well above .500 for the season.


Traveling a Rocky road to Hall of Fame

(Reprinted from Dec. 10, 2010)

  Rocky Marciano, Rocky Graziano, Rocky Balboa.
  One retired an undefeated heavyweight champion, one spent some time as a middleweight champion before eventually becoming an actor and one was a box-office champion who was never anything but an actor. And all three are now in boxing’s Hall of Fame.
  Marciano and Graziano, a winner of 67 fights during his career, receiving their sport’s highest honor is understandable. Placing Rocky Balboa — or, more accurately, his creator — there is a bit more mind-boggling.
  But that’s what happened last week when actor Sylvester Stallone was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum at the same time as real-life boxers Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez. To his credit, Stallone was properly respectful about his unexpected prize, saying in a statement that it was his “privilege to have been blessed with the ability to write about the incredible courage and commitment of the many thousands of real-life Rockys whom we have watched perform honorably in the ring.”
  Truth be known, most Rockys never do all that much within the squared circle. For example Chuck Wepner, the fighter on whom the Rocky character is supposedly based, served as a punching bag for Muhammad Ali in a 1975 bout.