Super Monday promises lots of super baseball, softball games
It's called Super Monday for more reasons than one.
It's supersectional Monday in IHSA Class 3A and 4A baseball and softball, and over the years Super Monday has proved to sometimes be more dramatic and thrilling than its successor, which is this weekend's state finals.
Here's a snapshot look, still using the wide-angle lens, at Monday's super matchups involving teams from the Daily Herald's print circulation area.
Class 4A baseball
Get ready for a late night if you want to see a potentially great matchup at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg.
At 7:30 p.m., or thereabouts after the Class 3A super between Grayslake Central and Fenwick, Stevenson will put its 30-9 record on the line against New Trier (28-7). The intriguing bonus to this game is the chance to see New Trier junior Justin Wood, the probable starter for the Trevians. Wood is the son of former Cubs great Kerry Wood, who is an assistant coach at New Trier. Stevenson is in a supersectional for the first time since 2015 and is seeking its first trip to the state final tournament since the Patriots finished third in 2010. The Pats, under the direction of fourth-year coach Nick Skala, will also be looking to avenge an 11-1 loss to New Trier on April 21.
Also in Class 4A, York (24-13-1) will take on Rockton Hononegah (29-6) at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva. York is trying to spin some late-season magic again after the Dukes advanced to a super last year with a 17-16 record before losing 2-1 to McHenry.
Class 3A baseball
The opener of the twin bill at Wintrust pits another Lake County heavyweight, Grayslake Central, against Fenwick (17-16) with the first pitch slated for 5 p.m. The Rams (32-7), who went 18-0 in the Northern Lake County Conference under 20th year head coach Troy Whalen, last reached a super in 2019 and are seeking their fourth trip to state and first since 2014. Fenwick lost to Crystal Lake South in the supersectional round last year.
Class 4A softball
Lake Park survived the brutal St. Charles North sectional, beating the host and defending state champs in the title game. The Lancers' reward? A return trip to SCN to face perennial power Oak Park-River Forest in the supersectional. For Lake Park (27-11), it's the program's first trip to a super since 2008, when current head coach Tom Mazzie was a Lancers' assistant under Cray Allen. Oak Park (29-7) won three state titles under former head coach Mel Kolbusz, the last one in 2017. Head coach J.P. Coughlin is in his second year.
At Barrington, it'll be déjà vu as the Fillies (34-5) host Warren (26-5), the same team they beat 6-0 in the 2022 super at the Fields of Dreams. This year, coach Perry Peterson's Barrington squad has been hitting home runs at a record pace and the Fillies have yet to be tested in the postseason, winning their four games by a cumulative 37-6 score. Warren, meanwhile has nearly been eliminated a couple of times. The Blue Devils survived a regional opener, 3-2, against Prospect, then had to come from behind twice to knock off Palatine 16-15 in 10 innings in the sectional semifinals.
Class 3A softball
If there's a Cinderella In this year's tournament, Benet wouldn't mind wearing that tag. The Redwings (23-11) take on Richards (18-10) in the supersectional at Benedictine University and they come into the game flying high. While the competition Benet's faced in the postseason hasn't exactly been the upper echelon of 3A, the Redwings have put up 60 runs in their four games and allowed just one. Richards, which finished third in the South Suburban Conference, survived a tough sectional, beating Evergreen Park 2-1 and St. Laurence 1-0.
Finally, is this Antioch's year? That's been the question all season as coach Anthony Rocco's Sequoits have rolled to a 32-1 record. They'll face Sycamore (28-10) in the Kaneland super and the biggest fear Rocco will have is his team putting the cart before the horse and having it in Peoria before it takes care of business in Maple Park.
But that's they call it Super Monday, and super it should be.
John Radtke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.