Latest news from The Southtown Star Online en-us Wed, 28 Jul 2010 14:10:16 PDT Southtown Star logo 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Disabato: Former SouthtownStar Player of the Year a changed man ]]> Lead story image

The last time I saw Tim Barry on a baseball diamond, it was moments after Oak Forest had dropped an 11-3 decision to Kaneland in the Class 3A state championship at Silver Cross Field in Joliet. Barry was upset that Kaneland pitchers chose to feed him breaking balls instead of challenging him with fastballs. “It’s very frustrating because every high school pitcher has to pitch around me because they’re a bunch of babies,” Barry said. “They can’t test their abilities against a really good hitter like myself.” That was June 11, 2011. It’s a quote that supported Barry’s critics who … ]]> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 02:12:58 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: Best in Illinois baseball? Look no further than the Catholic League Blue ]]> Lead story image

I know it’s early in the baseball season. I also know that many teams have yet to play more than a handful of games — thank you very much, Mother Nature. But I’m willing to go out on a limb here and proclaim the Catholic League Blue the best baseball conference in the state. This isn’t a total shocker. The preseason rankings hinted at that very notion — four Blue teams were in the SouthtownStar Top 10: No. 1 Mount Carmel, No. 2 St. Rita, No. 4 St. Laurence and No. 8 Providence. The proof, however, is in the pudding. … ]]> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 16:38:39 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: Mount Carmel baseball starts 2014 where it finished 2013: No. 1 ]]> Lead story image

For the first time in his career at Mount Carmel, Brian Hurry is presiding over a preseason No. 1 baseball team. “In my 15 years at Mount Carmel, being preseason No. 1 is a first on my watch,” Hurry said. “We’ll take it, but we’re more concerned about where we finish the season.” The irony in Mount Carmel’s inaugural preseason No. 1 standing is that it comes after a season in which the Caravan finished No. 1. The Caravan is the reigning Class 4A state champion. Most programs would suffer some sort of letdown and attrition by graduation. Indeed, Hurry … ]]> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 16:39:08 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: Lewis to retire the number of legendary baseball coach ‘Irish’ O’Reilly ]]> Lead story image

If Irish O’Reilly had his way, he’d allow other baseball players and coaches at Lewis the opportunity to wear the No. 14 he proudly donned for 29 years as the university’s baseball coach. It’s a number that is near and dear to O’Reilly’s heart. He wore it since he was 8 years old until he retired at age 63 in 2007 as Lewis coach. “I was fascinated by a ballplayer by the name of Ernie Banks,” O’Reilly said of “Mr. Cub,” who wore No. 14. “I emulated his batting style; my bat placement was a lot like his. It was … ]]> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 02:16:38 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: One minute is all Whatley needs to be Morgan Park’s difference-maker ]]> Lead story image

PEORIA — It’s been a rough few days for Morgan Park senior Dellan Whatley. His grandmother, Shirley Conner, suffered a stroke on Wednesday and died. She lived right across the street from Whatley. Each Sunday before church, she would supply Whatley, an usher, with peppermints. “That’s something I’ll never forget,” Whatley said. “She made sure to always give me peppermints. Sometimes she would pick me up from practice and we’d talk. She had a big influence on my life.” Conner’s funeral was Friday, the same day Morgan Park played its Class 3A state semifinal game against Orr. Whatley, a reserve … ]]> Sun, 23 Mar 2014 02:17:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: Morgan Park’s Charlie Moore comes through in a big way ]]> Lead story image

PEORIA — It’s fair to refer to Charlie Moore as the scapegoat — though it wouldn’t be entirely accurate. Whenever Morgan Park would struggle this season, most of the blame would be directed at Moore, a sophomore point guard. “I totally agree. He’s been made the scapegoat all year,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. “He’s been taking it (criticism). He’s been getting a bad rap all year.” Moore was only 2-of-11 from the field during Friday’s Class 3A semifinal against Orr. If that shooting performance would have come during a loss, you can bet Moore would have endured his … ]]> Sat, 22 Mar 2014 19:29:14 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: A.J. Avery getting firsthand NCAA tourney experience with Western Michigan ]]> Lead story image

Like most basketball players, A.J. Avery grew up dreaming of hitting the game-winning shot that led his team to the NCAA national championship. “Oh, yeah, of course I would,” said Avery, who grew up on Chicago’s South Side. “I’d be in the back yard and start counting down: three, two, one, and then I’d shoot the basket that won the game for my team.” That childhood dream of competing in March Madness has turned into reality for Avery, a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward at Western Michigan. The Broncos are one of 68 squads invited to the Big Dance. “It’s very exciting,” … ]]> Thu, 20 Mar 2014 02:15:33 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: For Marian Catholic, the clock strikes hero hour ]]> Lead story image

It was apparent from the start of Friday night’s sectional final that Tyler Ulis wasn’t himself. He lacked his usual explosiveness, his lateral movement was impaired and his hang time, which allows him to improvise in midair, was severely reduced. It was like watching a Ferrari racing on snow tires. A severe case of turf toe had developed on the bottom of Ulis’ right foot. The pain was so discomforting, Ulis needed crutches Friday to get around school. A hindered Ulis still remains very effective. However, if Marian Catholic was going to overcome a confident Homewood-Flossmoor on Friday night at … ]]> Mon, 17 Mar 2014 19:51:33 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: Every game, Marian Catholic’s Tyler Ulis is a must-see performer ]]> Lead story image

I’ve covered Marian Catholic do-it-all Tyler Ulis at least a dozen times throughout his soon-to-be-completed four-year varsity career. I’ve run out of adjectives to adequately describe his skill set. Marvelous? Amazing? Ridiculous? All of the above? The answer, of course, is “D.” There was something missing, however, from Ulis’ performance Tuesday night against Bloom. Ulis was making a mockery of the Blazing Trojans defense, whether it was shooting, passing, ballhandling or rebounding. Then, in the fourth quarter of Marian’s 66-45 victory, the missing ingredient appeared. No, Marian hadn’t replaced the “3” on the front of Ulis’ jersey with an “S,” … ]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:06:33 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: Providence vs. Benet should be a monster Kennedy Cup final ]]> Lead story image

The team has won a Thanksgiving tournament, a heralded Christmas tournament, even a Martin Luther King tournament. Grand accomplishments, all. However, they pale in comparison to the holy grail of hockey championships, the Kennedy Cup. For Providence, all that’s mattered this season is winning the Cup, which never has taken residence in New Lenox. I have a strong feeling, puckheads, that’s about to change in the next few days. The best-of-3 final against Benet begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Arctic Ice Arena in Orland Park.  Game 2 is 4:50 p.m. Saturday at Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge. Providence’s … ]]> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 12:44:48 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: It’s time to bring out the crystal basketball ]]> Lead story image

March Madness. Also known in these parts as win or go home, do or die and put up or shut up. The boys basketball playoffs tip off Monday and culminate with the Class 3A and 4A state finals March 21 and 22 in Peoria. It takes five wins to reach Peoria and seven total to win a state title — a task easier said than done. So which local team (or teams), if any, will advance through rigorous regional, sectional and supersectional competition and spend that weekend at Carver Arena? Can Morgan Park repeat in Class 3A? Can red-hot Hillcrest … ]]> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 08:53:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: Calviontae Washington sets Eisenhower hoops standard with 53 points ]]> Lead story image

Calviontae Washington remembers when Tyrone Terrell, at the time a senior at Eisenhower, scored 50 points in a game, setting a school record. Washington was a sophomore then. “I remember people telling me that Tyrone had scored 50,” Washington said. “It crossed my mind a few times what it would be like to score 50 points and if I could do it. But it never came to me that I’d actually do it.” But he did. Friday night, during a 118-80 win over Oak Lawn, Washington, now a senior, scored 53 points, breaking Terrell’s single-game scoring record at Eisenhower. As … ]]> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 15:00:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: Lemont scores a TD with Kooi hire ]]> Lead story image

Bret Kooi couldn’t hide his excitement about becoming Lemont’s new football coach. The exuberance rolled off his tongue similar to a child providing Santa Claus with a Christmas wish list. Kooi, 50, should be excited. Lemont is a prime-time position. Tradition, success, superb facilities, outstanding feeder programs ... it’s all there. So is the opportunity to earn an excellent education — as good as any of the top schools in the area. Which is why the coaching vacancy was so coveted — 65 applicants in all. “It’s an awesome opportunity,” Kooi said. “You have no idea how excited I am. … ]]> Fri, 14 Mar 2014 08:50:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: Providence hockey team ready to make its run for Kennedy Cup ]]> Lead story image

One for the record book. That’s the most accurate way to describe Providence’s amazing hockey season to this point. A 49-4-4 record, including a 21-0-1 mark in the Catholic League, is unprecedented at the New Lenox school. “It’s been a good season,” coach Nick Iaciancio said. “Now the stress kicks in.” Only if you allow it to, Nick. Providence is six wins from hoisting the program’s first-ever Kennedy Cup. The recently completed Catholic League regular-season title, too, is a first for the program. The Celtics open up the Cup playoffs Saturday with a best-of-3 series against eighth-place Mount Carmel, once … ]]> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 13:04:16 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: Talkin’ baseball ... and making the cases for the Southland’s best for 2014 ]]> Lead story image

For the next few minutes — or as long as it takes to read this column — let’s think happy thoughts. Warm thoughts. Erase memories of “ChiBeria” and the polar vortex from your mind. Think sunshine, sunscreen and sunburn. Think peanuts in the shell, green grass and blue skies. Yes, think baseball — high school baseball. I’m well aware the prep baseball season doesn’t always equate to warmth. Those March and April and, yes, May ballgames require a jacket, sometimes a pair of gloves. But it’s nothing like the last three weeks. Not even close. And the possibility of a … ]]> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 15:25:05 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: Oak Forest steps up into Top 10 in boys basketball ]]> Lead story image

For those perusing the weekly SouthtownStar boys basketball Top 10, I want to assure you that your eyes are not deceiving you. Hang up the phone. There’s no need to dial the optometrist. That’s Oak Forest, a program that has as many winning seasons (3) as winless seasons (3) the past 26 years, taking residence in our Top 10. It’s not by accident. The Bengals, at No. 8, are legit — despite stubbing their toe Tuesday night against Illiana Christian. “I don’t think we’ve ever been in the Top 10 during my 13 years in the program,” Oak Forest coach … ]]> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 13:17:27 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: After tweaking delivery, Mark Mulder attempting major league comeback ]]> Lead story image

Mark Mulder hasn’t pitched in a Major League Baseball game since the 2008 season. He hasn’t won a game since 2006. But if the Thornwood graduate’s against-all-odds comeback continues to progress as it has, that’s all going to change in 2014. “Everything is right where it needs to be right now,” said Mulder, a 6-foot-6 left-hander. “The ball is coming out of my hand good. My arm feels great.” There was a time when Mulder was one of the best left-handed pitchers in the big leagues, compiling a 103-60 during a nine-year career that included stops in Oakland and St. … ]]> Sun, 23 Feb 2014 06:34:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Disabato: At Lockport and Lemont, process ongoing for next football coach ]]> Lead story image

Here it is, the middle of January, the heart of high school’s winter season, and what’s the common question most fans have been asking me? “Who is going to be the new football coach at Lockport and Lemont?” Football season ended six weeks ago, and the 2014 season doesn’t officially begin for more than 200 days. No matter. Fans still want their prep pigskin, even if its wrapped in snow and ice. If you recall, Lockport severed ties with coach Don McKillip, who guided the Porters to a 3-6 record, just days before Thanksgiving. At Lemont, longtime coach Eric Michaelsen, … ]]> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 08:04:18 -0500