Baseball: Public League crown goes to Morgan Park
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media May 24, 2014 8:46PM
Morgan Park players sprint to the field after defeating Taft. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 26, 2014 6:53AM
It isn’t every day you achieve a first for your program.
So Saturday at Curtis Granderson Stadium on UIC’s campus, Morgan Park’s Lavar Reed and James Davison and the rest of the Mustangs were going to enjoy this one.
Courtesy of a 9-5 win over Taft in the Public League championship game, Morgan Park claimed the program’s first-ever city title.
“It really means a lot to us because it shows we came together as a whole,” Reed said. “After last year’s second-place finish, we felt that need to come together and do what we had to do.”
With the Mustangs opening play this week in the Class 3A playoffs, Davison hopes his teammates will be putting up another banner.
For now, they will enjoy the city title.
“It means everything to put a baseball banner up in Morgan Park,” Davison said. “We see basketball, football, track, everything, and it just feels good to make history, to be the first to do something.”
The make-or-break moment for Morgan Park (19-7-1) came in the fifth after Taft tied things at four with a four-run inning.
Reed and Co. wasted no time responding, putting a four-spot up in their half of the inning. Reed led off with a single and came around on a Christian Bullock two-run single.
Joshua Shaw added an RBI triple and scored on a wild pitch as Morgan Park reclaimed the lead, going up 8-4.
“Quiet minds and positive thoughts,” Reed said of the inning. “We knew we were going to get the runs back. We just had to pick each other up.”
The Mustangs stole 12 bases in the win, slapping out 10 hits, drawing six walks and scoring on a passed ball and a balk as well as two wild pitches. Davison and Darius Hill stole three bases apiece.
“I’m just trying to get on base and do the little things,” Davison said. “I try to use my legs to be great. I bust my butt, stealing bases, whatever I can.”
Reed (2 runs) and Elijah McKinnis had an RBI apiece for Morgan Park, which lost in the city title game last year to Simeon.
“Last year we wanted to be in the championship, but this year we wanted to win it,” Morgan Park coach Ernest Radcliffe said. “It’s trusting in our whole program, and that’s how we pulled it off.”
Jack Suwinski had two RBI for Taft (26-5). Joseph McFeely, Eli Mercado and Jacob Plucinski added an RBI apiece for the Eagles.