Suburban Sprawl finds some diamonds among spring sports

Spring sports season is getting serious and a number of area players are headed to tournament play on the diamond.

Big Ten champ

York’s Lauren Derkowski made the final play to clinch the Big Ten tournament championship for Michigan. The junior pitched all 19 innings for the Wolverines in the tournament. Michigan will face Kentucky to begin the Stillwater regional.

History for Dayton

Dayton softball won the Atlantic 10 title for the first time and will play in the Tennessee regional. Former Hersey pitcher Sarah Bailitz was named to the all-tournament team, while Glenbrook South’s Maddie Kapsimalis hit .350 this season.

Moving on in Missouri

This local TV recap of the MIAA baseball championship game is loaded with Northern Lake County references. Among those featured from Missouri Southern are Henry Kusiak (Grant), Ethan Clark (Lakes) and Nate Mieszkowski (Grayslake Central). And yes, sometimes you run out of pitching in these events, final score was 18-16.

Missouri Southern will host a regional in the NCAA Division 2 tournament …

CCIW honor roll

Several local stars earned season awards in the CCIW. Grayslake North’s Gianna Certa was named softball pitcher of the year. She topped the league with a 0.41 ERA while leading Illinois Wesleyan to the conference tournament title. IWU will play at Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the D3 tourney.

West Chicago’s Bobby Bartlett was named player of the year in baseball. He hit .388 in conference play at North Park, while also posting a 1.53 ERA on the mound.

North Central’s Juliana Maude won softball freshman of the year. The former Huntley pitcher posted a 1.26 ERA this season.

Batavia’s Jackson Bland was named baseball freshman of the year. He hit .373 with 37 RBI for North Central.

Rapidly Whitewater

Wisconsin-Whitewater is a team loaded with suburban stars and is headed for the D3 softball tournament. Some of the regulars include Bella Eggert (Glenbard North), Kaitlyn Weidemann (Warren), Taylor Koehler (Wauconda), Maggie Ward (Downers Grove North), JJ Jakosalem (Buffalo Grove). The Warhawks are headed to Central (Iowa) for the regional.

On the baseball diamond, Wisconsin-Whitewater swept the conference awards, with two local recipients. Downers Grove South’s Matt Scolan was named player of the year for hitting .408 with 12 home runs. Yorkville’s Michael Hilker Jr. was pitcher of the year with a 1.43 ERA.

Wisconsin-Oshkosh won the regular season conference softball title in the WIAC and will host a regional in the D3 tournament. The Titans’ top three hitters are from Illinois — Marengo’s Hannah Ritter, along with Sydney and Morgan Rau from Downers Grove South.

Here’s the full Division 3 softball bracket …

Millikin moves on in baseball

Here’s a clip of Millkin celebrating the CCIW baseball championship. Kaneland’s Tommy Shaw became the school’s all-time hit leader this season, while Niles West’s Kyle Gibson hit a team-best .382.

BenU to big dance:

Benedictine University in Lisle is headed to the Division 3 baseball tournament after beating Aurora to win the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference tournament. The Eagles are hitting .316 as a team this season. Some of the offensive stars are Logan Gregorio (Waubonsie Valley), Brennan Fisher (IC Prep) and two Andrew grads, Kevin Bushnell and Anthony Lenza.

NFL camp talk

One more name to add to the area list for NFL rookie camps is St. Charles North grad Mike Hohensee, who opened some eyes with the Cowboys. He threw for 22 TD at Northwest Missouri State last fall.

Christie at Combine

Rolling Meadows grad Cam Christie is participating in the NBA Draft combine in Chicago this week. He’s exploring his options after a strong freshman season for Minnesota.

MLB rundown

If you missed it, this was the MLB debut of Willowbrook grad Chris Roycroft in St. Louis. The first batter he faced was Mets’ shortstop Francisco Lindor and got the strikeout.

Hersey’s Brett Harris is making himself at home in Oakland …

One reason the White Sox turned things around was 3 home runs in four games by Antioch’s Paul DeJong.

Meanwhile, here’s some community service from Naperville Central’s Nicky Lopez

Coaching milestones

Stevenson’s Jeff Wimer collected his 800th career win at the Highland Park girls water polo sectional last weekend.

This tweet speaks for itself about two retiring coaches at Libertyville …

Spring standouts

Fremd edged Stevenson and Neuqua Valley to win its fourth badminton state title. One of those three schools have won eight of the last nine championships.

Congrats to Maine West softball, not only for clinching the CSL North, but also for stellar use of fonts in this graphic.

Portal news

Naperville North forward Chris Conway, after helping lead Oakland U. to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, announced his next destination is Washington.

Former Yorkville Christian guard Jaden Schutt reportedly will transfer to Virginia Tech. He played in 14 games as a freshman at Duke, then redshirted last season after having knee surgery.

College commits

Riverside-Brookfield 7-footer Stefan Cicic is headed to Tulane

Glenbrook North pitcher/outfielder Spencer Geake to Harper College

Aurora Christian’s Rudy Griffing to Rose-Hulman for football

West Aurora’s Jason Williams will hoop at Elgin Community College

Baseballs in the air

Minor league baseball season is underway and the Kane County Cougars had a walk-off win Tuesday

Former Cub (four games in 2022) Narciso Crook hit 3 home runs in a game for the Chicago Dogs in Rosemont

The Schaumburg Boomers, meanwhile, started 4-0 after winning the home opener

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