Bulldogs remain in perfect harmony

  • Written by Ken Karrson

All phases go for Richards in spotless week

  Potent hitting? Check.
  Reliable pitching? Check again.
  Dependable defense? That gets the biggest check mark of all.
  As Richards coach Brian Wujcik has asserted for a long time, success in baseball can often be found when a team proves competent in two of the three above-mentioned phases of the sport. But what has sparked the Bulldogs’ surge to the top of the South Suburban Conference Red standings and capturing of 15 wins in their first 18 games is efficiency in all three areas.
  And without question, the X-factor has been Richards’ gloves. From outfielders Kyle Garrett and Eric Mallo and catcher Charlie Zeschke, to infielders AJ Sanchez, Noel Castro and Nate Natividad, the Bulldogs’ defense has been rock solid thus far.
  “Two errors in one game is, I believe, the most we’ve had,” Wujcik said. “Last year, when we made an error, it seemed like it cost us three runs. We haven’t had that kind of meltdown this year.
  “This is the best defensive team we’ve had in quite a while, and it’s something we’re real happy to see. I really think it’s the difference between us being 15-3 and 11-7 and being in a tight race.”

Return-trip reward

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Vikings rally on second day to beat Irish

One visit to Kankakee was all Pete Lotus had originally planned for St. Laurence last week.
When Monday’s Chicago Catholic League crossover contest between host Bishop McNamara and the Vikings was halted by rain in the third inning, however, Lotus was left with no choice but to plan a return trip down Interstate 57 for Thursday. And considering St. Laurence was trailing 2-1 when the game was suspended, another southern journey was an easy sell to his athletes, particularly since a better weather day was forecast.
“It was raining the entire game [on Monday] and it was tough,” Lotus said. “It was pouring and it was very difficult to score without benefit of some walks.”
The Fightin’ Irish had used two of those, plus a couple hit batsmen to collect their pair of runs in the first inning, but they were unable to score after that. While pitcher Alex Hitney settled down and held Bishop Mac’s offense in check, his Vikings teammates quickly gave him a lead to protect once action resumed.
Five runs in the fourth and seven in the fifth gave St. Laurence an unexpectedly lopsided 13-2 triumph and kept prospects for a perfect week intact. And on Saturday, the Vikings completed the task by shutting out Providence Catholic 8-0 in their CCL Blue opener.

Tightening their grip

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Knights increase divisional lead with wins

Winning a tight contest enabled Chicago Christian to tighten its grip on the Suburban Christian Conference Gold lead.
And then the Knights dealt Immaculate Conception an even bigger blow, both literally and figuratively, in the second game of a divisional doubleheader last Tuesday at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood. After suffering a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat in the opener, IC basically fell apart in Game 2.
Five Chicago Christian runs in the bottom of the second gave it an edge it would never relinquish. IC did close to within 6-3 after scoring twice in the top of the fourth, but the Knights responded right away with their own deuce to maintain a comfortable advantage.

An imperfect 11

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Caravan stop Crusaders’ streak

  The 10th was perfect, the 11th not so much.
  Brother Rice rode a 10-game win streak into its Chicago Catholic League Blue opener on Saturday against Mt. Carmel. Six of the victories were rung up in league crossovers, and many of those were realized by wide margins, thanks to the Crusaders’ increasingly effective offense. That included a 12-2 demolition of St. Ignatius in five innings last Wednesday.
  But in the Blue, it’s often a matter of “O’s” being shunned by overpowering pitching, which was exactly what occurred between Rice and the Caravan. Neither team, in fact, generated much in the way of noise, but three Crusaders errors proved costly to the locals.


Hurts so dumb, take 2

(Reprinted from March 12, 2009)

  Once again, it’s time to be amused by other people’s misery.
  Now before everyone starts thinking I’m some sort of sadistic creep, let me remind you that I have no intention of laughing at genuine misfortune. Real folks with real problems deserve sympathy, assistance or whatever else we can offer that will make their plight a bit more bearable.
  However, professional athletes are a different story altogether. Sure, there are ones who’ve dealt with serious family matters involving their children — Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee and Bears defensive back Peanut Tillman immediately come to mind — and they, too, should be treated with compassion.
  What I’m referencing is those jocks who, through their own carelessness or stupidity, have brought physical injury upon themselves.
  About two months ago, I chronicled the tales of roughly a dozen highly paid sports-world individuals who got hurt not during competition, but because of some bizarre maneuver they pulled off the field of play. The list was by no means a complete one, and after some dogged research done by others, I’ve compiled an update.
  One thing I noticed is that golf is a very dangerous undertaking. It’s always been physically taxing, particularly for those 120-pound teenaged caddies toting 100 pounds’ worth of golf bags for businessmen whose post-round tips consist of stock-purchasing advice for the youngsters, who have no money to invest because they’ve just been stiffed.
  But in the case of athletes, I’m talking real injuries. Amazingly, none was suffered during actual play.