College Baseball: St. Xavier’s Mike Dooley records 800th career coaching win
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media April 14, 2014 9:40PM
St. Xavier baseball coach Mike Dooley (left) | Supplied photo
Updated: May 17, 2014 6:17AM
St. Xavier coach Mike Dooley would like to take some of the credit.
For the most part, the longtime skipper chalks up this milestone to the players and the programs.
On Saturday, Dooley earned his 800th coaching victory as the Cougars swept Roosevelt in a doubleheader.
“Coaches like to think otherwise, but it’s the kids who win the games,” Dooley said with a laugh. “Eight hundred wins definitely means something special. It is a barometer of having success over a long time, and the mark is a tribute to the program and the kids. It is a program accomplishment, not a Mike Dooley accomplishment.”
Dooley, who is retiring at season’s end, came into the campaign with 785 wins over 21 years. Barring some gigantic team struggles, he knew the 800-win milestone would come along at some point.
“It was just a matter of when and where,” Dooley said. “It was fitting that it was at home on a beautiful day, probably the best weather we’ve had all season. To do it in 22 years, it means we had sustained success over a long time.”
Lewis eyeing run at conference
A win is a win, and Lewis coach Tim McDonough will take every one of them.
He just wishes it wasn’t always so dramatic, for good or bad.
The Flyers led 12-4 through four innings Sunday against Illinois Springfield but then found themselves in a desperate back-and-forth battle. Lewis squeaked out a 13-12 win, with Mike Barajas’ eighth-inning single scoring Austin Mastela with the game-winning run.
“I’m proud our guys play tough and show that resolve, but I wish they wouldn’t keep putting us in that situation,” McDonough said with a laugh. “We shouldn’t have to (win like that). I have to hand it to the guys though overcoming a tough loss.”
Lewis dropped the opener in a four-game set to Illinois Springfield, including blowing an 8-1 lead, before taking the next three games.
The Flyers are 19-15 overall and 12-9 in the Great Lake Valley Conference, good for third place. Lewis travels to the GLVC East leader Southern Indiana (24-8, 16-4), for a four-game series Friday and Saturday.
“The closer you get to the end of the season, the more sense of urgency there is,” McDonough said. “Southern Indiana is a good team, and you want as many wins as you can. The conference race will be a dogfight.”
McDonough credited Ben Albano (.393 average, 5 home runs, 28 RBI), Joliet Catholic’s Sam Couch (6-1 record), Brad Elmore (1-1 record) and St. Laurence’s Joel Rotkvich (.330 average, 18 runs) for their strong play.
Prairie State aiming for repeat
Having won the program’s first conference title last season, Prairie State is in position to reclaim the championship in the Skyway Conference.
The Pioneers (13-9, 7-3) are in a three-way tie with Lake County and Waubonsee with four games to go.