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.”