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Baseball | Evergreen Park tops Shepard, clinches first conference crown since 1986

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By Steve Millar
Correspondent

Evergreen Park’s players believed they had a special team this season.

That was validated when they accomplished something the program had not done in 37 years.

With their 4-2 win over Shepard on May 16, the Mustangs sealed the outright South Suburban Red championship for their first conference title since 1986.

“It’s huge,” senior Sean Higgins said. “It’s a testament to all the hard work we’ve put in over the last two years and the falls and winters. We knew before the season we had something special here.”

Crispin Soto had a big two-run double and finished off the game on the mound, earning the save for the Mustangs (22-9, 14-5). Evergreen Park took the lead for good in the fifth inning as Higgins’ squeeze bunt scored a run to break a 2-2 tie. Alejandro Munoz added an RBI single.

“It’s not by accident,” Evergreen Park coach Mark Smyth said of the team’s success. “These guys have worked their tails off.

“It’s a kudos to our administration and our school board for giving us this great facility. It allows us to do so much more than we were in the past. Fall baseball, coming out and working out, working in the complex in the winter. It was there for the kids; this is two years in the making.”

The Mustangs added a 3-1 win over Lindblom on May 17 and split a doubleheader on May 20, beating Thornwood 8-0 and falling 9-6 to Highland Park.

Luke Rosso threw a four-hit shutout in the win over Thornwood. Jack Hughes went 4-for-6 with a home run and five RBIs over the doubleheader, while Munoz was 5-for-8 with two RBIs and two runs.

Evergreen Park had two more regular-season games scheduled — Monday against Mount Carmel and Tuesday against Payton — before hosting Bremen on May 25 in the Class 3A Evergreen Park Regional semifinals.

 

McGlynn’s senior moment
Oak Lawn (17-13, 13-6) hoped to share the Red title with the Mustangs, or perhaps win it outright if Evergreen Park slipped up against Shepard.

The Spartans kept their hopes alive temporarily with a dramatic 2-1 win over Reavis in an 11-inning battle May 15.

Jack McGlynn was a two-way hero, throwing 7 2/3 innings while allowing one unearned run, then producing a walk-off double in the bottom of the 11th inning.

“Jack’s been struggling the last few games and I put the bunt signal down initially, and then I was like, ‘What are you doing? It’s Jack. Let him swing,’” Oak Lawn coach Bill Gerny said. “It was great for Jack to have that senior moment. I hope he has some even bigger ones, but that was a great one.”

But the Rams (19-15, 13-6) got revenge with a 14-7 win over the Spartans on May 16, leaving both teams one game behind Evergreen Park.

Noah Caceres went 4-for-5 with two doubles and four RBIs and Ethan DeLuna drove in three runs in Reavis’ win over Oak Lawn.

The Rams wrapped up the week with an 11-0 win over Hillcrest on May 18, as Carlos Guzman struck out 12 in 4 2/3 innings, and a 12-0 win over Curie on May 19.

Oak Lawn bounced back from the loss to beat Bremen 11-0 on May 18 and rout Riverside-Brookfield 17-4 on May 20.

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