SSC Softball goes to World Series; scores from TF South, Illiana Christian, Marian Catholic, TF North
LANSING, Ill. (May 17, 2023) – Toward the end of April, something clicked for South Suburban baseball.
And now the Bulldogs are heading to the NJCAA Division I Midwest District tourney in Iowa after winning their third straight Region IV title and 15th overall.
South Suburban won three straight in the regional, 10-0 over Kishwaukee on May 10, 20-10 against Triton on Thursday and 5-3 over Triton on Friday.
“Three weeks ago we kind of turned the tide a little bit,” SSC coach Steve Ruzich said. “We started executing and playing better baseball. It carried over last week.”
The Bulldogs trailed 3-2 midway through the seventh inning of the title game before rallying for three runs. Gavin Terry drove in the tying run and Nicholas Johnstone delivered the go-ahead RBI.
Dawson Tanner was 2-for-4 with an RBI and pitched two scoreless innings for the save. Max Rundburg worked one shutout inning for the win in relief of James Burke, who allowed three runs (one earned) over six innings with two strikeouts.
In a wild winners’ bracket final, South Suburban jumped ahead 7-0 in the top of the first, fell behind 10-8 after two innings and regained the lead for good with a four-run third.
Leading an 18-hit attack were Brad White (4-for-7, 2 homers, 3 runs, 6 RBI), Evan Pearce (3-for-6, homer, 2 runs, 2 RBI), Dylan Duguay (3-for-6, run, 2 RBI), Johnny Lemm (2-for-5, homer, 2 runs, 3 RBI), Terry (2-for-6, 3 runs), and Johnstone (2-for-3, 2 walks, 2 runs, 2 RBI).
In the opener, Dalton Alford pitched a five-inning two-hitter with no walks and six strikeouts. Johnstone (3 RBI) and Tanner (2 RBI) each went 2-for-3 and scored a run.
Tanner was named the regional tourney MVP, while teammate Scott Hansen was honored as Division I Region IV Player of the Year. Alford, Johnstone, Terry, and White made the all-region team.
Winning the regional is always a priority for South Suburban, which plays an independent schedule and thus has no conference title to chase.
“We try to instill in the kids when they come here, that’s the first goal, to do that (win the Region IV title),” Ruzich said.
The Bulldogs overcame some injury issues to reach that objective this season. Their starting shortstop, main set-up man, and closer all are sidelined by injuries.
“The big key is we’ve got six position guys that were back from last year,” Ruzich said. “There’s a lot of guys stepping up.”
The Bulldogs are World Series-bound for the first time in 23 years after winning the NJCAA Division II Midwest A District title on Monday.
South Suburban (36-12) did it the hard way, losing 6-1 to Waubonsee in the district opener. The Bulldogs bounced back with wins over Kankakee (10-0 in five innings), Waubonsee (4-2), and Bryant and Stratton (8-6) before walking off Bryant and Stratton 10-9 in the title game.
The World Series is May 23-27 at Tyger River Park in Spartanburg, S.C.
Boys track and field
The Red Wolves made it six conference championships in a row last Thursday when they outdistanced runner-up Lemont 155-132.5 for the South Suburban Blue title.
TF South showcased its depth by winning three relays and finishing second in a fourth.
Jason Jones, Jaleel Lewis, Jeremiah Jones, and Nazheer Moore took the 400 relay in 42.94. Anthony Listenbee, Mekhi Tompkins, Jeremiah Jones, and Jamauri McNabb won the 1,600 relay in 3:34.07, while Diego Flores, John Carson, Kendall Smith, and Terrell Hall finished first in the 3,200 relay at 8:31.42.
Also winning titles were Moore in the 200 (22.61), Tompkins in the 400 (50.59), and discus thrower Karrel Harvest (46.50m, 152-6.75).
The 800 relay quartet of Jeremiah Jones, Moore, Jason Jones, and Lewis took second at 1:31.50. Listenbee was runner-up in the 300 hurdles (41.41).
Taking thirds for the Red Wolves were Jason Jones in the 100 (11.30), Carson in the 800 (2:06.61), David Nkwogu in the 300 hurdles (41.87) and high jump (1.80m, 5-11), Harvest in the shot put (13.88m, 45-6.5), Cortez Jones in the discus (43.01m, 141-1.25), and Romello Ali in the triple jump (12.52m, 41-1).
The Red Wolves rallied from 4-0 down, scoring four in the sixth and two in the seventh to beat Bremen 6-4 on Monday. Moises Mata hit a game-tying, three-run homer for South (20-13, 11-7 South Suburban Blue) and finished 2-for-3. Jake Stachelski also was 2-for-3, with a run, a steal and an RBI. Jack Starcevich went 0-for-1 with two walks and a sacrifice fly. Chris Rodriguez struck out two in two innings to earn the win in relief.
The Red Wolves had the opportunity to play on a college field on Saturday night — UIC’s Granderson Stadium, named for TF South alum and longtime former major leaguer Curtis Granderson.
South edged Joliet Central as Jayden Spann was 2-for-2 with a homer, run and three RBI. Mata went 1-for-2 with two RBI. Starcevich got the win, striking out six over six innings.
The Vikings (25-8) won a sectional title in the first year of the Indiana High School Volleyball Coaches Association boys state series, beating Hammond Central 25-9, 25-15, 25-10 in the semifinals and sweeping Andrean 25-10, 25-19, 25-7 in the final on Saturday.
Mikayla Derks pitched a complete game with six strikeouts and was 1-for-3 with a double as the Vikings edged Highland 4-3 on Tuesday. Lydia VanderWoude was 2-for-3 and Lauren Sherwood finished 1-for-2 with a sacrifice fly for Illiana (15-7).
The Vikings were shut out 5-0 by Bradley-Bourbonnais on Monday. Derks was 1-for-2 with a walk.
Jonah Weathers pitched five shutout innings, allowing four hits and one walk with eight strikeouts, for his first win of the season as the Spartans beat Bishop Noll 10-3 on Saturday. Kevin Denty filled up the box score for Marian (15-14), going 1-for-2 with a double, two walks, a stolen base, a run, and two RBI.
The Spartans finished second in the Evanston Invitational after falling 25-20, 25-20 to Loyola in Saturday’s final. Justin McGary had 17 assists, nine digs, and three kills for Marian (26-8) and Jacob Haney contributed nine kills.
Marian beat the host Wildkits 25-23, 25-11 in the semifinals as Brandon Painter had eight kills, McGary contributed 26 assists, Joe Staack had eight blocks and Haney chipped in with eight digs.
Marian went 3-0 in pool play, beating Rockford East 25-20, 25-12 on Saturday and getting wins over Rockford Boylan (19-25, 25-11, 15-3) and Palatine (25-18, 25-21) on Friday.
Painter had 10 kills, McGary added 22 assists, and James Bullock had five kills against Rockford East. Against Boylan, Painter had seven kills, Staack added four blocks, Phoenix McGruder had seven digs, and McGary added 24 assists.
In the Palatine win, Painter, Haney, and McGruder all finished with five kills. McGary had 18 assists and two aces, while Seb Jaculbe contributed six digs.
Boys track and field
The Meteors finished seventh in the South Suburban Blue Meet last Thursday with 13.5 points. Jevon Warren turned in North’s top performance, taking second in the high jump at 1,80 meters (5-11).
TF United (TF South/TF North coop)
United fell 25-17, 25-11 to Oak Lawn on Tuesday.
- TF United girls soccer on six-game win streak heading into playoffs – local scores (May 13, 2023)
- Daniel Lingua resumes shortstop post as Gary SouthShore RailCats season starts Thursday – local scores (May 10, 2023)
- SSC’s Steve Ruzich notches 1,300 wins as baseball coach – and other local scores (May 3, 2023)