Homewood-Flossmoor varsity baseball team took a tough loss in a 3-2 super-sectional game Friday that ended the Vikings run for the state championship title.
More than 100 supporters, many in the school’s red and white colors, lined the fences and cheered from the bleachers as the Vikings battled Providence Catholic High School. When the game ended and team members walked back to the dugout, they were cheered by the fans.
The game opened with the Vikings scoring first. H-F with a 1-0 lead was able to hold off Providence from scoring until the 3rd inning when they tied the game on a wild pitch. Providence loaded the bases, but the Vikings held them from any additional scoring in that inning.
In the top of the 4th inning, Providence scored, making it 2-1, and then an RBI single brought in the batter from 3rd base to move the score to 3-1.
H-F came back, scoring in the bottom of the 5th inning to make it 3-2. The team attempted to bring in another runner to tie the score, but it wasn’t meant to be. Runners were left on the bases in the 7th as Providence struck out the last batter.
“We had a never-die attitude and we felt like we had a shot at the end," said head coach John McCarthy. “That’s baseball. I’m proud of the group and proud of the effort.”
The team roster has seniors, juniors and sophomores, so H-F baseball has players that will move up next season, but McCarthy said the day belongs to the seniors.
“It’s hard to look to the future today. It’s more the senior class and what they provided us. It’s just hard to replace that,” McCarthy said.
Senior pitcher Chad Readey, who sealed the win with the final pitches in the sectional game on Wednesday, said Friday’s game not only meant the end of his four years at H-F, but the culmination of friendships made through baseball.
“I don’t know, losses always hurt,” Readey said. “Every guy in that dugout, if you weren’t playing on their team you were playing against them. There’s always more baseball (he will play for Northwestern University), but It hurts to know they’re walking away from these guys.”
Kristine and Jim Lund of Flossmoor were proud of the team’s efforts and the play of their son, Preston, the catcher of record for Friday’s game. He’s only a sophomore and they are hoping he’ll continue to play for the Vikings as he moves into the upperclassmen ranks.
Preston Lund said after the game: “We’re coming back strong. This is just the beginning” for H-F baseball.
The sentiment was the same for Gary Head whose son, Dillion, a sophomore, plays outfield. He’s also part of the Chicago White Sox ACE program.
Principal Jerry Anderson said she’s not necessarily a baseball fan, but the H-F team is exciting to watch.
“I think it’s like the beginning. I think we have a good team and they’re going to develop well.”
“Coach McCarthy’s done a tremendous job building something and everyone’s excited about it,” said Jay Readey, Chad’s father.