Baseball: St. Paul wins IESA state championhip
By Dick Goss email@example.com October 7, 2013 10:04PM
Members of the St. Paul team include (front row, from left): Josh Bolek, Dylan Hensley, Ben Zawacki, Reed Ohlson, Jack McGinnis, Dolan Glasgow, Aidan Tyrell and Drew Popovich; (back row, from left): coach Brian Stroud, Dean Procarione, Max Cullen, Matt Bebar, Alex Vera, Nick Trevino, Jack Scordo, Zach Offerman, Owen Roesel, Statistician Rigo Vera, coach Mike Melone and coach Tom Tyrell. | Supplied photo
Updated: November 9, 2013 6:18AM
When you play against larger schools in the Joliet area all fall and you have strong pitching, chances are your team will be a player in the IESA State Baseball Tournament.
St. Paul School was that, winning the Class 1A state championship over the weekend at Eastside Center in East Peoria for its third state championship since Mike Melone and Greg Gould began the program in 2006.
The Giants (14-5) beat Bartonville Oak Grove West 8-6 for the title after blanking Springfield Blessed Sacrament 10-0 in the quarterfinals and Findlay Okaw Valley 8-0 in the semifinals.
St. Paul’s other state crowns were in 1A in 2006 and 2A in ’07. The Giants also went to state ’10 and ’12.
Coal City (23-3) added a second title for the Joliet area, winning the 3A championship with a 6-4 victory over Morton. Kelvin Grove claimed third place in 2A with a 2-1 win over Maroa-Forsyth, and Summit Hill finished fourth in 3A.
“Our competition all year was 2A and 3A schools,” said Melone, the St. Paul coach. “We pretty much dominated early, then late in the season we had a stretch where we lose four of five in a seven- or eight-day stretch against very good competition, and that made us better.
“We knew we had the 1-2 pitching punch in Aidan Tyrell and Matt Bebar that could push us through the playoffs.”
The duo could not have been better, combining to work 25⅓ innings in the playoffs without allowing an earned run. Tyrell pitched a five-inning no-hitter, striking out eight and walking one, in the quarterfinals and Bebar tossed a five-hitter in a seven-inning shutout in the semifinals.
“In the championship game, we had to pitch other kids because of innings rules,” Melone said. “But Aidan still came in and threw a few shutout innings and Zach Offerman, who hadn’t pitched in about three weeks, got through their 9-1-2-3 hitters in the seventh to close it out.”
Defense went hand in hand with pitching for the Giants.
“Our defense was outstanding,” Melone said. “We made one error in the five playoffs games.”
Nick Trevino led the way offensively, hitting .574 for the season and .750 in the playoffs. Bebar hit .558 and .647, respectively, Tyrell .455 and .474, Reed Ohlson .446 and .500 and Drew Popovich .419 and .429.
Other team members include Josh Bolek, Dylan Hensley, Ben Zawacki, Jack McGinnis, Dolan Glasgow, Dean Procarione, Max Cullen, Alex Vera, Jack Scordo and Owen Roesel. Tom Tyrell and former pro pitcher Brian Stroud assisted Melone.
Coal City, which also won state titles in 1964, ’96 and ’97, beat Homer 2-0 in the quarterfinals and Summit Hill 6-4 in the semifinals to reach the final against Morton. Mt. Zion beat Summit Hill 3-2 for third place.
Coal City’s Blake Harseim pitched a one-hitter to beat Homer, and Kaleb Spreitzer had two of the Warriors’ three hits. Sean Micetich got the win and Nick Jones had three hits and three RBI against Summit Hill. Carter Copes had three hits and Danny Phillips earned the win in relief in the title game.
Austin Friddle, Beau Wills, Brendan Cullick, Brendan Nevin, Brett Blecha, Dustyn Muzzarelli, Hunter Bannon, Justin Dabulskis, Keegan Gagliardo and Mickey McDowell rounded out the Coal City roster.
Kelvin Grove beat Chillcothe 3-0 in the quarterfinals but lost in the semifinals to Paris Crestwood 5-0 before falling in the third-place game to Maroa-Forsyth.