Local high school teams make magic
SouthtownStar editorial June 14, 2012 7:26PM
Updated: July 16, 2012 6:34AM
Maybe the miracle metaphor is overused in sports.
But there’s no use denying that area high school baseball and softball teams have dabbled in magic this spring.
Magic is inexplicable and seemingly illogical. There’s little logic for what Marian Catholic, Marist and Providence teams achieved this year.
Marian and Marist won improbable state championships, and Providence was one hit shy of reaching the summit, too.
First, there was no way Marian Catholic High School was going to win the state Class 3A baseball championship last week. The Spartans had an undistinguished record when the tournament began.
The school has a rich athletic history, but not in baseball. The program hadn’t had a winning record since 2005.
In fact, the Spartans had never reached the state title game in their history and had not leaped past the first round of the playoffs since 1987.
But a funny thing happened to their presumed early exit from the playoffs. It never happened. Hail the champs who picked the perfect moment to do everything right.
“The school gave a lot to me,” coach and alum Phil Wail said later. “I went there; I got a great education, I got a scholarship for baseball and played four years. You want to give back to the school.”
Whatever the Spartans lacked, it wasn’t gumption.
Indeed, this has been a spring of startling delights for Southland prep teams.
The Marist girls won the 4A title when junior first baseman Haley Richy bashed a grand slam on a pitch that should have been ball four. “This doesn’t feel real; I am in shock,” Richy said.
The RedHawks had to win their last 12 games to finish with a 27-15 record.
The Providence girls reached the state 3A semifinals and lost in a squeaker with a roster that included only two seniors. Because high school tournaments customarily reward the most experienced teams, next year was supposed to be THE year for the Celtics.
The tournaments left coaches searching for the suitable over-the-top explanation. But who can explain magic?