Sports wrap

  • Written by Anthony Nasella

To hear Shepard girls’ track coach Verline Gaddis tell it, her athletes enjoy the feeling of success.

  To be sure, the Lady Astros experienced plenty of that at Saturday’s 15-team Stagg Invitational, where they took first place in their initial appearance in the Palos Heights meet.
  Behind senior captain Courtney Dalton, who won the 300-meter low hurdles race and anchored three first-place relay units, Shepard scored 109 points.
  That allowed the Lady Astros to easily outdistance runner-up Rockton Hononegah (88 points). Joliet West (66½), Romeoville (46) and Reavis (45) rounded out the top five.
  “I saw hard work from the girls at Stagg and they wanted it,” Gaddis said. “They like success. We have a good combination of seniors and underclassmen — 10 seniors and a lot of sophomores and juniors — and I was very proud of their performance Saturday.”

SXU sports summary

Nonnemachner named Athlete of the Month for March

  For Nicole Nonnemacher, March went out like a lion.
  St. Xavier University’s sophomore softball pitcher capped a memorable month of award receiving by being named as the school’s Athlete of the Month last week. Previously, Nonnemacher had been chosen as the NAIA National Pitcher of the Week and Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week, both honors coming right after she had dominated in the circle during her appearances on the Cougars’ season-opening Florida trip.
  Nonnemacher’s work down south included three no-hitters. For the month as a whole, she went 6-1 to spur a 14-2 start for SXU, one of its best in program history. Nonnemacher was also credited with a pair of saves.

Community sports news

Crusaders edge Eisenhower for tennis victory

  A sweep of the doubles matches propelled Brother Rice to a 3-2 tennis victory over Eisenhower.
  Triumphing in straight sets for the Crusaders were the teams of James Gallagher-Jack Gorma (6-0, 6-2 at No. 1), Liam Millerick-Dan Mahoney (6-3, 6-4 at No. 2) and John Brandt-Dan Rooney (6-3, 6-4 at No. 3). Both singles matches were also decided in just two sets, as the Cardinals’ John Balcon (6-1, 6-1 at No. 1) and Kevin Aguirre (6-4, 6-1 at No. 2) defeated Rice’s Jeremy Tryban and Mike Foreman, respectively.
  Eisenhower captured three of the four JV matches that were contested.

Getting hot in Arizona

  • Written by Ken Karson

Vikings open season with tournament title

Deserts are easily found in Arizona, but St. Laurence baseball players viewed that southwestern state as more of an oasis last week.
The reason why is easy to understand: Arizona presented the Vikings with a satisfying alternative to the below-normal temperatures and soggy diamonds that have plagued this area and gave them a chance to enjoy ideal baseball conditions. While spring-break getaways have been standard practice for St. Laurence in recent seasons, a journey in this particular direction was a first for it.
And, if coach Pete Lotus has anything to say about the situation, it won’t be the last trip to that destination for the Vikings. Not only did they get in every game — something that didn’t happen a year ago in Florida due to rain — but they also triumphed each time out.
St. Laurence beat five opponents in a span of four days, a string of conquests that culminated with a tournament championship-clinching 7-4 victory over Ralston Valley (Colo.) on Friday.
“I think it’s definitely big,” Lotus said of his club’s 5-0 start to the 2014 campaign. “To be able to have success against teams that are used to playing in good weather and had already played some games was huge. We knew these first two weeks [of the schedule] were going to be tough, but hopefully this was a great stepping-stone.”
Seeing as how the Vikings had no on-field practice time prior to departing for Arizona, Lotus’ main goal for his athletes was to simply have them stay competitive against foes he knew would be formidable. And he wasn’t only thinking about his projected regulars.

Chilly reception

  • Written by Ken Karson

Spartans’ bats cool in opening week

Winter is officially over, but Oak Lawn’s bats remained in hibernation during opening week of the 2014 baseball season.
The weather was partly to blame for the Spartans’ quiet offense, but also contributing was some stout pitching by their two foes. Both St. Rita and Lincoln-Way Central boasted live arms, the former calling on three different ones to stymie Oak Lawn last Wednesday at the Ray Kroc Center in Chicago.
The Spartans were limited to Joe Dodaro’s fifth-inning single hit-wise, and he immediately got erased in a double play. Oak Lawn batters also fanned 12 times — seven of them coming on called third strikes — in what ultimately became a 5-0 victory for the Mustangs.
On Saturday at Chicago State University, the Spartans didn’t fare a whole lot better as they were held in check by Knights hurler Brandon Bass, who was pitching before seven radar gun-toting scouts. They clocked Bass’ fastball at between 91 and 94 miles per hour, and only three Oak Lawn hitters were able to solve him to any measurable degree.
Three of the Spartans’ four hits were registered in the sixth inning, but a pickoff play and twin killing snuffed out the budding rally and ensured that Oak Lawn would be the victim of a second consecutive whitewash. Lincoln-Way Central triumphed 10-0, as the game ended when the Knights created a double-digit edge with one more run in their portion of the sixth.
Like every other squad that hasn’t ventured beyond Illinois’ borders, the Spartans’ time spent outdoors has been severely limited because of poor weather. They did practice on Oak Lawn’s artificial-turf football field, but they “couldn’t take BP or see live pitching a whole lot,” according to coach Bill Gerny.