Lyons second baseman Troy Stukenberg was named the Lions’ recipient of the Do It Stevie’s Way Awarrd at the annual Do It Stevie’s Way Tournament. Photo by Jeff Vorva
Do It Stevie’s Way | Lyons falls to Providence in champ game; Troy Stukenberg earns tourney award
By Steve Millar
Lyons’ quest for a Do It Stevie’s Way Tournament championship came up just short, but it was still a memorable day for senior Troy Stukenberg.
Stukenberg was chosen the Lions’ Do It Stevie’s Way Award winner at the tournament, which honors former Mount Carmel baseball player Steven Bajenski, who died at 17 years old from complications following heart surgery in 2009.
Bajenski was a second baseman like Stukenberg.
“This is a really big honor,” Stukenberg said. “I got blessed enough to be a part of this thing for three years. My sophomore year, there was no tournament, but I got to wear the hat for our series against [Oak Park-River Forest]. It was kind of special for me because it’s two second basemen.
“Last year, going to the ceremony and seeing what it really means, to not just Stevie’s family but to a lot of people who knew him and to see what an impact he made, this meant a lot.”
The Lions made it to the championship game of the 16-team tournament, for which games are played throughout the season before concluding with bracket play. The finals were held May 20.
Lyons could not keep up with Providence in the final game, falling 11-2 to the Celtics at Ozinga Field in Crestwood.
Michael Mango went 2-for-3 with a run, Frederick Ragsdale III was 2-for-4 with a run and Jack Falls and Patrick Engels each produced a sacrifice fly to lead Lyons (23-8).
The Celtics (28-6-1) pulled away with five runs in the second inning and six more in the third as Lyons hurt itself with three errors.
Earlier in the day, the Lions put together a late rally to beat St. Rita 4-3 in the semifinals.
The Lions trailed 3-1 entering the seventh inning but scored three times for the win. Mango tied the game with a two-run triple before Ragsdale drove him in with a one-out RBI single.
Tristan Clark shut the Mustangs down in order in the bottom of the inning for the save. Nate Anderson threw a solid six innings for Lyons, allowing three runs and earning the win.
Jackson Stanek had two RBIs, Joey Smith went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run and Tommy Atkinson was 2-for-3 with a run for St. Rita (24-10).
Lyons won its pool, which included Marist, Homewood-Flossmoor and Marian Catholic.
“We played a lot of tough competition and we saw a lot of good pitching,” Stukenberg said. “Every game, we knew we were playing a good team and facing a good arm. I’m really proud of the boys. We all fought it out. We fought for the doubleheader (Saturday).”
Despite the loss to Providence, Stukenberg was encouraged by the way his team battled against the Celtics.
“We’ve just got to keep rolling,” he said. “Providence is the No. 1 team in the state. Pitching-wise, maybe we weren’t throwing the best, but I thought we fought really well. If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, I think we can make a really big run.”
And Stukenberg is not going empty-handed. He has that meaningful award.
“I had a lot of good influence from the senior who won it last year — Jack McNamara,” Stukenberg said. “I was like, ‘I work hard. I think I follow Stevie pretty well, follow in his shoes, so why can’t I win it?’ I went out there, gave 100 percent and I’m blessed to say I won this.”
Sandburg (19-12-1) fell 11-2 to Providence in the semifinals despite RBIs from Charlie Snoreck and Nick Morsovillo.
After two earlier losses to Lockport this season, the Eagles broke through against the Porters on May 17 with a 2-1 victory that clinched a pool win and sent Sandburg to the semifinals.
Grant Tenuta was brilliant on the mound, allowing one run on five hits over 6 2/3 innings while striking out 11. Snoreck and Morsovillo drove in both runs in that game, as well.
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