LANSING, Ill. (April 23, 2023) – Only a tiny fraction of high school players ever make it to professional baseball; one source estimates the number at 0.5%.
So it’s a big deal for TF South’s Red Wolves every spring when they head to U.S. Steel Yard in Gary — home of the American Association’s RailCats — for one of their annual rivalry games with TF North.
This year’s game was Friday afternoon, with Moises Mata and his South teammates making some priceless memories in a 16-1, four-inning win.
The junior third baseman hit his first home run of the season, splitting the left-center field gap and legging out an inside-the-parker in the second inning.
He didn’t initially think about circling the bases.
“I was thinking a double, (then) I was thinking just go to third,” he said. “I’m not one of the fast guys on the team.”
But Mata beat the relay throw home and earned a season highlight.
“He’s a guy who’s really put in a lot of work,” South coach Matt Tiffy said. “He’s gotten hot as of late. … His work is obviously paying off. He teed off on that ball and put a nice swing on it.”
The homer was a bonus for Mata on top of just playing in a professional ballpark.
“It’s nice,” he said. “Because some fields in the conference and the games we play are not like this. I thank God, and it’s a blessing to play on this.”
That’s the reaction Tiffy loves to hear.
“The best part of this is the experience,” he said. “I was a player once — a long time ago it feels like — I never got an opportunity to get out in a ballpark like this. … Kids get a chance (to see), ‘This is what it’s like, this is the real deal.'”
The Red Wolves (8-9, 5-3 South Suburban Blue) took advantage of some walks and errors by the Meteors (1-12-1, 0-8) to jump ahead 8-0 in the first inning and 13-0 after two. Ethan Modjeski contributed an RBI double.
Rodrigo Arceo pitched three no-hit innings for the win, striking out six and walking one. North’s only baserunner during his stint came on an error. David Holmes tripled and scored the Meteors’ lone run in the fourth inning.
“Arceo got hurt in his outing against Richards and he was down for a while,” Tiffy said. “So it was really nice to see him getting on the bump and going to work today.”
On Saturday, the Red Wolves completed a game against Tinley Park that was suspended because of bad weather on Wednesday, losing 4-3. Jack Starcevich was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI and Rakim Ali hit a solo homer. Jayden Spann went the distance, striking out four.
South dropped the opener of the Tinley Park series 5-3 on Tuesday. Khanon Gresham was 2-for-4 with two runs and a steal, while Mata went 3-for-4 with two RBI.
Girls track and field
The Red Wolves took fifth among 10 teams with 31 points at Thursday’s weather-shortened Bill O’Donovan Eagle Classic hosted by Sandburg.
Only eight varsity events were completed before competition was halted. But one was the 400-meter relay, in which South’s Taylor Poole, Jayla McCarter, Laniya Porter and Janiya Hicks set a program record of 49.76 to finish first.
Lucas also took fourth in the 100 (12.63), while Jamirah Lucas (18.20) and Rashiya Warfield (18.25) finished 3-4 in the 100 hurdles. Jazmin Thornton was fourth in the discus (27.58m, 90-5.75).
Boys track and field
The Red Wolves competed in the Rock Island ABC Invitational on Friday, finishing 10th among 14 teams in the A Division with 85 points, fifth among 14 in the B Division with 72 points and tied for second in the C Division with 74 points.
Top “A” placers for the Red Wolves were Mekhi Tompkins (second, 400, 52.10), the 3,200 relay team of Diego Flores, John Carson, Terrell Hall, and Kendall Smith (fourth, 8:51.54), Karrel Harvest (fourth, shot put, 13.82m, 45-4; fourth, discus, 40.80m, 133-10.25), and Romello Ali (tie for fourth, high jump, 1.73m, 5-8).
Leading Red Wolves “B” placers were Cortez Jones (first, discus, 42.52m, 139-6), Ali (first, triple jump, 12.80m, 42-0), and David Nkwogu (third, 300 hurdles, 43.66; fourth, high jump, 1.77m, 5-9.75).
Top “C” placers were Jason Jones (first, 100, 11.68; second, 200, 23.92), Bryce Wolf (first, 300 hurdles, 43.81), Ali (third, long jump, 5.81m, 19-0.75), Nkwogu (third, triple jump, 11.76m, 38-7), James Major (third, 400, 54.98), Flores (fourth, 800, 2:17.08), and Jordan Burton (fourth, shot put, 11.90m, 39-0.5).
The Red Wolves (10-7, 3-2 South Suburban Blue) beat TF North 12-0 on Tuesday and Homewood-Flossmoor 4-3 on Wednesday.
Emily Dominiak and Izzy Sprehe combined on a one-hit shutout against North. Rebekah Whitfield and Yulissa Macudzinski both had two hits and scored twice.
Sprehe was the winning pitcher against H-F and Whitfield contributed two hits and a run scored.
The Red Wolves lost 8-7 to Reavis on Thursday and beat Oak Lawn 13-2 on Tuesday.
Winners against Reavis in singles were Glory Ike (No. 1), Samantha Vazquez (No. 2), Breanna Lopez (No. 5), Kailey Klausner (No. 7), Trinity Veal (No. 9), and Azuri Akbar (No. 10). Ike and Vazquez won at No. 5 doubles.
Singles winners on Tuesday were Ike (No. 1), Vazquez (No. 2), Nathalia Castellanos (No. 3), Annika Biegel (No. 6), Klausner (No. 7), Reneloluwa Sonoiki (No. 8), Veal (No. 9) and Akbar (No. 10). South swept the doubles, with the teams of Klausner-Lopez, Sonoiki-Veal, Sophia Wieck-Akbar, Biegel-Kaylyn Imala and Ike-Vazquez winning at No. 1 through No. 5.
TF United (TF North/TF South coop)
Alanis Gonzalez had two goals and four assists as United (8-4, 6-1 South Suburban Blue) blanked Richards 7-0 on Friday.
Also contributing were Berenice Zepeda (2 goals, 1 assist), Karen Zepeda (2 goals), Teniola Odutusin (1 goal), Zayda Gil (1 assist), and Jackelin Vargas (1 assist). Goalkeeper Angela Mendez earned the shutout.
United beat Shepard 7-2 on Tuesday as Karen Zepeda had three goals and an assist. Other scorers were Gonzalez (1 goal, 2 assists), Gil (1 goal, 2 assists), Berenice Zepeda (1 goal, 1 assist), and Sarah Ghnaim (1 goal).
United lost 3-2 to Crete-Monee on Wednesday. Angel Urquido won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles and Emon Arnold won by forfeit at No. 2 singles.
United lost 23-25, 25-10, 25-20 to Richards on Thursday, 25-13, 25-13 to Homewood-Flossmoor on Wednesday and 19-25, 25-14, 25-15 on Tuesday.
The Vikings edged Marian Catholic 2-1 on Saturday. Mikayla Derks pitched a five-hitter with 11 strikeouts and no walks, and also was 2-for-2. Maya Wondaal tripled and drove in a run.
Sarah McManus doubled and drove in a run for Marian (13-4). Katie Pollock threw a six-hitter with nine strikeouts and one walk.
Illiana lost 1-0 to Beecher on Wednesday as Derks pitched a six-inning three-hitter. She walked none, struck out six and also had a double.
Illiana fell 3-2 to Andrew on Thursday. Kevin Corcoran Jr. pitched two-run ball over five innings for the Vikings, allowing five hits and striking out eight.
The Vikings lost 7-4 to Boone Grove on Tuesday. Corcoran was 2-for-5.
The Vikings (6-0) posted their lowest score of the season, beating Lowell 160-202 on Friday at Palmira’s front nine. Scoring for Illiana were co-medalists Isaac Sherwood (39) and Zach Davids (39) along with Donny Woo (40) and Van Corcoran (42).
Illiana defeated Hobart 169-203 on Wednesday at River Pointe’s Red course. Woo shot a 38 to earn medalist honors, followed by Sherwood (41), Davids (43), Corcoran (47), and Eli Postma (47).
The Vikings won a triangular on Monday, shooting a 164 to defeat Wheeler (199) and Bishop Noll (202). Woo’s 37 was good for medalist honors. Also scoring were Sherwood (38), Corcoran (43), William Bloom (46) and Zander Weemhoff (46).
The Vikings swept Chicago Christian 25-18, 25-21 on Thursday, beat Andrean 23-25, 25-12, 25-18, 25-16 on Wednesday and defeated Bishop Noll 25-20, 25-15, 25-15 on Monday.
Boys track and field
Braydon Waller won the 100 (11.1) and 200 meters (22.3) and ran a leg on the first-place 400 relay team to highlight the Spartans’ fifth-place finish at Friday’s Don Relays hosted by Niles Notre Dame.
Paul Frazier, Michael VanHootegem, Tyler Lofton and Waller ran a 42.98 in the relay — the third-fastest time in program history.
VanHootegem also won the 110 hurdles in 15.03 and Frazier cleared 5-8 to take first in the high jump.
Marian was limited to two hits in a 5-0 East Suburban Catholic Conference loss to Marist on Thursday. Katie Pollock went the distance for the Spartans, allowing nine hits and one walk with one strikeout.
The Spartans beat Bloom 13-0 on Tuesday. Pollock pitched a five-inning two-hitter with 12 strikeouts and one walk. She also went 2-for-4 with a double and five RBI.
Gracie Jensen was 3-for-4 with a double, three runs and two RBI, while Emily Pacheco doubled and drove in three runs.
The Spartans (8-7) fell 4-3 to Lyons on Friday. Nick Mangano was 2-for-4 with a homer, run and three RBI.
Marian scored five runs in the top of the eighth inning — three on a homer by Mangano — and went on to beat Beecher 6-2 on Thursday.
Jonah Weathers got the win, allowing three hits and one run (unearned) over seven innings while walking none and striking out 12. A.J. Kvasnicka was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
Marian fell 6-2 to Joliet Catholic in East Suburban Catholic Conference action on Tuesday. Lloyd Mills was 2-for-4 for the Spartans.
Marian beat Chicago Christian 25-10, 25-11 on Friday as Justin McGary had 17 assists. Jacob Harvey contributed seven kills, while Parker Kneueppel and Seb Jaculbe each had three aces.
- 2023 TFS Hall of Fame class – and scores from TFS, Marian Catholic, Illiana Christian (April 19, 2023)
- SSC All-Americans named in basketball, Marian Catholic successful in softball, volleyball – other scores (April 12, 2023)
- TF North alum Anthony Pignatiello takes reins of football program – local scores (March 31, 2023)
- Red Wolves to see improved facilities this fall (March 29, 2023)