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NL-041218

The New Lenox Patriot 041218

44 | April 12, 2018 |

44 | April 12, 2018 | The New Lenox Patriot Sports newlenoxpatriot.com This Week In... Knights varsity athletics Baseball ■April ■ 13 - at Bradley- Bourbonnais, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at Stevenson, 1:30 p.m. ■April ■ 16 - hosts Stagg, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 17 - at Lincoln-Way West, 4:30 p.m. Softball ■April ■ 13 - at Lincoln-Way West, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at Plainfield Central, 10 a.m. ■April ■ 17 - at Andrew, 4:30 p.m. Boys Water Polo ■April ■ 12 - hosts Homewood- Flossmoor, 5 p.m. ■April ■ 13 - at Naperville Central Tournament, 4 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at Naperville Central Tournament, 8 a.m. ■April ■ 18 - hosts Bradley- Bourbonnais, 5 p.m. Girls Water Polo ■April ■ 12 - at Homewood- Flossmoor, 5 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at Mundelein Quad, 2:30 p.m. ■April ■ 16 - at Mother McAuley, 6:30 p.m. Boys Track and Field ■April ■ 14 - at Minooka Invitational, 10 a.m. ■April ■ 17 - at Bolingbrook, 4:30 p.m. Girls Track and Field ■April ■ 14 - at Minooka Invitational, 10 a.m. ■April ■ 17 - at Thornwood, 4:30 p.m. Boys Tennis ■April ■ 12 - at Lockport, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - hosts Lincoln-Way Central Tournament, 9 a.m. ■April ■ 16 - at Kankakee, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 17 - hosts Stagg, 4:30 p.m. Girls Soccer ■April ■ 14 - hosts Normal West, 2:30 p.m. ■April ■ 17 - at Lincoln-Way East, 4:30 p.m. Boys Volleyball ■April ■ 16 - hosts Providence, 6 p.m. Badminton ■April ■ 12 - at Lincoln-Way West, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 17 - hosts Andrew, 4:30 p.m. Warriors varsity athletics Baseball ■April ■ 12 - hosts Marist, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at Stagg, 2 p.m. ■April ■ 17 - hosts Lincoln-Way West, 4:30 p.m. Softball ■April ■ 13 - hosts Lincoln-Way Central, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at Oak Forest, 2 p.m. ■April ■ 17 - at Bradley- Bourbonnais, 4:30 p.m. Boys Water Polo ■April ■ 12 - hosts Andrew, 5 p.m. ■April ■ 17 - at Lockport, 5 p.m. Girls Water Polo ■April ■ 12 - at Andrew, 5 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at Deerfield Invitational, 8 a.m. ■April ■ 17 - hosts Lockport, 5 p.m. Boys Track and Field ■April ■ 14 - West Aurora Relays, 10 a.m. ■April ■ 17 - hosts Stagg, Thornwood, Sandburg, 4:30 p.m. Girls Track and Field ■April ■ 14 - at Oswego East Invite, 9 a.m. ■April ■ 17 - at Stagg, 4:30 p.m. Boys Tennis ■April ■ 12 - at Sandburg, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 17 - at Thornwood, 4:30 p.m. Girls Soccer ■April ■ 12 - hosts PepsiCo Showdown, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at PepsiCo Showdown, TBA ■April ■ 17 - at Homewood- Flossmoor, 4:30 p.m. Boys Volleyball ■April ■ 17 - at Marist, 6 p.m. Badminton ■April ■ 12 - hosts Lincoln-Way Central, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at New Trier Featherfest, 8:30 a.m. ■April ■ 17 - hosts Bradley- Bourbonnais, 4:30 p.m. Celtics Varsity Athletics Baseball ■April ■ 12 - hosts St. Rita, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 13 - at Marian Catholic, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at St. Rita, 11 a.m. ■April ■ 17 - hosts Marmion Academy, 4:30 p.m. Softball ■April ■ 12 - at Mother McAuley, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at Marian Catholic, 2 p.m. ■April ■ 16 - hosts Munster, Indiana, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 17 - hosts Fenwick, 4:30 p.m. Boys Track and Field ■April ■ 12 - at Lemont Outdoor Invitational, 5 p.m. Girls Track and Field ■April ■ 12 - at Lemont Outdoor Invitational, 5 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at Oswego East Invite, 9 a.m. Boys Tennis ■April ■ 12 - hosts Joliet Catholic, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at Wheaton North Falcon Quad, 8:30 a.m. ■April ■ 16 - hosts Lemont, 4 p.m. Girls Soccer ■April ■ 14 - hosts Joliet Catholic, 2 p.m. ■April ■ 16 - hosts Loyola Academy, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 17 - hosts Fenwick, 4:30 p.m. Boys Volleyball ■April ■ 12 - hosts St. Francis- Wheaton, 6 p.m. ■April ■ 14 - at Lincoln-Way Central, 6 p.m. ■April ■ 17 - at Andrew, 6 p.m. SOFTBALL Local squads aiming for postseason success JEFF VORVA, Contributing Editor Lincoln-Way East’s softball team dominated regional and sectional action en route to a second-place finish in the Illinois High School Association Class 4A state tournament in 2017. East outscored Thornton Fractional South, Minooka, Joliet West and Lockport by a combined score of 26-3. Will the Griffins be able to breeze in the early part of the postseason again? The other teams in the 19-team Joliet West Sectional will have something to say about that. The Griffins will join 22nd Century Mediaarea teams Lockport, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way West and Andrew in that sectional. Others in the tournament are Bolingbrook, Bloom, Crete-Monee, Homewood- Flossmoor, Thornton, Joliet Central, Joliet West, Thornton Fractional South, Minooka, Plainfield Central, Plainfield East, Plainfield South, Romeoville and Thornwood. Sandburg is heading to a 19-team sectional that does not have a host yet. Other teams in that sectional are Morton, Eisenhower, Reavis, Curie, Kelly, Kennedy, Marist, Mother McAuley, Hinsdale South, Proviso West, Hinsdale Central, Lyons, Oak Lawn, Richards, Shepard, Stagg, Riverside-Brookfield and Argo. In Class 3A, Providence Catholic and Tinley Park are in a sub-sectional at the 20-team Ottawa Sectional. Other teams in the sub-sectional are Coal City, Hillcrest, Joliet Catholic Academy, La- Salle-Peru, Morris, Ottawa, Plano and Sandwich. Seeds will be announced on May 8. The regionals begin May 21 and the state finals are June 8-9. Lincoln-Way West lost its opening round matchup 10-7 to Plainfield South in last year’s postseason. Expect a better showing this time around with nearly every starter returning for this year’s run. 22nd Century Media File Photo

newlenoxpatriot.com Sports the New Lenox Patriot | April 12, 2018 | 45 A decade of sports in the Southwest suburbs Freelancer Randy Whalen recounts the past 10 years covering LWC, LWW, Provi, more Randy Whalen Freelance Reporter It was Feb. 5, 2008. The new year had settled in, and on this sixth Tuesday of it, I was a bit more excited than usual to cover a boys basketball game in my hometown of Lockport. That’s because in addition to a couple of other papers, I was covering it for a newer publication — The Homerian. Lockport Township defeated Bolingbrook 52-43 that day and went on to place fourth in the state in Class 4A about six weeks later. Little did I know that day that I’d be continuing my journalism career a decade later mostly writing for that same company that published The Homerian. That, of course, being 22nd Century Media and includes the paper you’re reading this in now. A lot has changed in those 10 years, including the name of The Homerian. Shortly after I started freelancing there, it became The Homer Horizon. When I first started stringing for 22nd Century Media, there were two Lincoln-Way’s. That fall there were three, the next year four and sadly now it’s back to three again. In the decade I’ve done this job, I’ve covered everything from golf to the latest official sport — lacrosse. Working in the community newspaper environment has helped make me a better reporter, a better writer and, hopefully, a better person. In the time I’ve freelanced for 22nd Century Media, the company has grown into not only the north shore suburbs but also into Malibu, California. I’ve remained in my favorite coverage area, the area I’m from — the southwest suburbs. The schools that I’ve covered in the 10-year time period have combined to capture 30, that’s right, 30 state championships in that period of time. It would have been 32, but a pair of state titles by Lockport Township and Tinley Park in cheerleading, took place on the weekend before I started covering events for the papers. Right here, in our little corner of the world, we are fortunate enough to have some of the best high school athletes and programs around. There’s too many individuals who have won state titles for me to mention them all. But I’m going to touch on some highlights below I’ve covered in that time period, starting with perhaps the most amazing accomplishment of them all. Providence baseball capturing three-straight large school state titles. Between 2014-2016, the Celtic baseball team never lost in the Class 4A postseason tournament. How hard is it to win a single-elimination baseball tournament for threestraight seasons? It had never been done in the 75-year history of the tourney before Providence pulled it off. In fact, a repeat had only been done twice in any class. Many times in that stretch, the Celtics were down to their final inning, final out and even final strike. Under the leadership of coach Mark Smith, they kept battling all the way through it, however, and that resolve paid off with a trio of first-place trophies. Actually, the best Providence baseball team in the last decade was the 2011 team, which went 37-4. But ran into another 37-4 team, Lyons Township, which just happened to be the better team that day in the state title game. In my time as a local sports reporter I’ve encountered many, many good coaches. But perhaps the one I was most happy for when he won a state title was Dick Mandella. I first met coach Mandella when he was a fiery boys basketball coach in the mid 1980s at Providence. He later moved to the softball coach there and turned that program around. In 2001, he took a job as softball coach at the one-and-only Lincoln- Way which became Lincoln-Way Central when East opened in the fall of 2001. His teams from 2001-2007 won at least 26 games each season and went a total of 201-40. But the Knights never won a sectional, so they and coach Mandella were labeled as “couldn’t win the big one.” But everything that went wrong in the postseason those previous seasons went right in a glorious run in 2008. I got to cover the Knights last five games that spring as it all came together and they found ways to win. From the home run hitting of right fielder Courtney Dunker in the sectional semifinal game. From center fielder Desi DeMarco hitting a late home run in the sectional final and throwing out a New Trier runner at home in extra innings in a scoreless state semifinal game. From shortstop Cassie Redman overcoming an earlier error and making a pair of good plays in the bottom of the seventh as the Knights overcame a bases loaded, no out situation to keep the supersectional game scoreless. To Rachel Larson lambasting a two-run home run the next inning as Central defeated Moline 2-0 to advance to state. To the clutch pitching of Jackie Dugan throughout the postseason, including a pair of shutouts and a final fantastic performance in a 4-1 win over Barrington in the first ever Class 4A state title game. It was my first state title coverage for 22nd Century Media and still is one of my favorite memories. A sport I’ve loved to cover in the past decade is bowling. We’ve been fortunate to have some of the top programs around, and for one glorious three-week period in 2012, Andrew was state champions in both boys and girls bowling. The girls title was completely unexpected, but the Julie DeChene coached Thunderbolts held off Minooka by 22 pins to capture the championship. The boys team, coached by Mark Lobes, took home another trophy with a second place finish two years later. But back to the 30 state titles, right here, in our little corner of the world, we are fortunate enough to have some of the best high school athletes and programs around. There’s too many individuals who have won state titles for me to mention them all. But I’m going to touch on some highlights below from each school I’ve covered in that time period starting with perhaps the most amazing accomplishment of them all. Providence baseball capturing three straight large school state titles. Between 2014-2016 the Celtic baseball team never lost in the Class 4A postseason tournament. How hard is it to win a single elimination baseball tournament for three straight seasons? It had never been done in the 75 year history of the tourney before Providence pulled it off. In fact, a repeat had only been done twice in any class. Many times in that stretch the Celtics were down to their final inning, final out and even final strike. Under the leadership of coach Mark Smith, they kept battling all the way through it, however, and that resolve paid off with a trio of first place trophies. Actually the best Providence baseball team in the last decade was the 2011 team, which went 37-4. But ran into another 37-4 team - Lyons Township, which just happened to be the better team that day in the state title game. The Celtics also captured state titles in cheerleading in 2013 and football in the fall of 2014. Personally two of my favorite Providence performances in this time were the 2012 softball team taking third in Class 3A. Also the recently completed wrestling season where, longtime coach Keith Healy departed with one more wizard like lineup juggling performance as the Celtics also placed third in Class 3A and he went out with a final victory. While Lincoln-Way North never captured a team title in its to brief eight year run as a school, there were certainly many highlights. Perhaps the top thing was that the school being open allowed athletes more opportunities to play and coaches more opportunities to coach in a very talented area. The Phoenix football team went 0-9 in its first season, but the George Czart-coached team went 54-20 with six playoff berths in the next seven seasons. They started 11-0 in their final season in the fall of 2015, before losing in the quarterfinals for the second time in three years. The boys volleyball team capped an amazing season with a second place finish in 2013, Although they weren’t official, North had two state titles (2011, 2015) in the Phil Lawler Summer 22nd Century Media sports freelancer Randy Whalen has been known for taking selfies with fans and school staff at every game he covers. Pictured here is a recent one from this school year with Lincoln-Way West Principal Monica Schmitt. Photo Submitted Classic, put on by the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association. I got to cover both, as the one in 2011 saw perhaps the greatest comeback I ever witnessed. Down 12-0 down in the regional title game, including 12-6 in the seventh, North rallied to defeat Joliet Catholic Academy 13-12 in eight innings under the lights on a sweltering July night. North’s baseball teams were excellent in the spring too, winning at least 22 games and a regional title for their final seven seasons between 2010-2016. But the Phoenix had the unfortunate matchup of running into Providence in sectional title games in 2014 and 2016. Now in its ninth year as a school, Lincoln-Way West also has yet to capture that team title. I, however, got to cover a pair of bowlers win individual state championships. That was Morgan Flaherty – who is now an assistant girls bowling coach at West – in 2012, and Josh Glover in 2014. While the Warriors haven’t won a team title, they certainly came close in the 2015-2016 school year. The football team lost in the Class 5A state title game that fall and the boys basketball team tumbled in the Class 3A state championship game Please see Randy, 43

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