Richards' softball team enjoys an ice cream celebration during the postseason. Photo courtesy of Richards High School Athletics

Richards' softball team enjoys an ice cream celebration during the postseason. Photo courtesy of Richards High School Athletics

Baseball and Softball Wrap | Benet tops Richards in extras to punch ticket to state

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By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

Richards came close to setting up an all-South Suburban Conference matchup in the IHSA Class 3A state semifinals.

But the Bulldogs could not take advantage of an early two-run lead and dropped a 5-2 decision in eight innings to Benet at the Benedictine Supersectional, played June 5 in Lisle.

Had Richards (20-11) won, the SSC Red team would have faced defending state champion and SSC Blue champ Lemont at the state tournament in Peoria.

The Bulldogs got rolling in the first inning when a Benet error on Olivia Coglianese’s bunt allowed Natalie Hajer to score. Meghan Wirtz then singled home Coglianese, but Richards was kept off the scoreboard after that.

The Bulldogs’ players may have been disappointed with the outcome, but the team appears to have a bright future. Freshman pitcher Emily Chavosky picked up valuable postseason experience, and most of the lineup featured underclassmen who went through the pressure cooker of finishing in the Elite Eight.

Richards reached the supersectional with a 1-0 win over St. Laurence, one year after the Vikings knocked the Bulldogs out of the postseason.

The Bulldogs also sweated out a 2-1 win over Evergreen Park in the sectional semifinals.

Chavosky was the winning pitcher in both of those nail-biters.

Richards has played in one state title game — in 1984 when they finished runner-up during the single-class era. Since then, the team has won 14 regional titles but made it to supersectionals just once (2011).

 

Smyth hangs it up

Evergreen Park baseball coach Mark Smyth is retiring after racking up 350 wins over a 23-year stretch.

His final season had some big highlights as the Mustangs won their first South Suburban Conference Red championship since 1986.

Under Smyth’s watch, the Mustangs won four of the program’s five regional titles, with championships in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The only other Evergreen Park coach to win a regional title was Bob Appelby in 1958, according to IHSA records.

While the Mustangs did not win a regional this year, their 24-12 record represented the program’s most wins in a season. The season ended on May 27 with a 2-0 loss to Oak Forest in the Class 3A Evergreen Park Regional championship game.

 

Chicago icons in Joliet?

The Class 3A and 4A state baseball tournaments take place June 9-10 at Duly Health and Care Field in Joliet, and there is a good chance fans could get a glimpse of a pair of well-known former pro Chicago baseball players.

Nazareth is in the Class 3A semifinals and Hall of Famer Jim Thome, who played with the White Sox from 2006-2009, is on the coaching staff. His son, Landon, is a freshman and starting infielder for the Roadrunners.

New Trier is in the Class 4A final four, and former Cubs flamethrower Kerry Wood is on the Trevians coaching staff. His son, Justin, is a junior pitcher on the team.

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