Burbank American qualified for the Senior Little League World Series and played on ESPN+ on July 29. Photo by Burbank American
Area Sports Roundup | Area baseball and softball stars on ESPN
By Jeff Vorva
It’s easy to catch some of the area’s former athletes honing their crafts.
You can find former Brother Rice star and Palos Park native Michael Massey belting home runs for the Kansas City Royals on MLB Network, ESPN or YouTube.
During recent NBA seasons, Hickory Hills native and Stagg grad Max Strus could be found draining corner threes during nationally televised games, including the Eastern Conference and NBA finals.
It’s rare, however, to see the area’s top talent in action while they are still in high school. That’s what made July 29 a special day.
ESPN+ on that day covered the Senior League Baseball World Series in Easley, South Carolina, with one game featuring the Central Region champion Burbank American team. The local boys lost, 3-2, to South Carolina DI Region champ Easley, and are scheduled to resume action on July 31 in the double-elimination tournament.
Members of the roster include Martin Tino Villagomez, Terry Ferguson III, Gio Smith, Blake Stefanek and Isaac Velasco, all from Reavis; Jozef Torres and Enrique Villanueva, both from St. Laurence; and Noah Escobedo from Richards.
It’s the second year in a row Burbank has made it to the World Series.
On ESPNU, area softball fans had a chance to see two recent area grads play for the Premier Girls Fastpitch 18U National Championship in Irvine, California. The Beverly Bandits dropped a 5-3 decision to Rock Gold.
St. Laurence graduate Emma Lotus and Marist graduate Eileen Donahue are on the squad that featured players from around the Chicago area as well as Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio.
Making a splash
Vanessa Nino-Lopez of Stagg is a member of the St. Charles Tide water polo team, which finished in sixth place in bracket play at the United States Water Polo National Junior Olympic competition July 27-30 in Dallas.
Nino-Lopez, a junior, won the team spirit award.
Sandburg girls light up Detweiller
Rising junior Lindsey Gerhardstein finished eighth, Faith Miller took 30th, Ava Giblin 32nd, Katie Roche 38th and Lily Molloy 40th in the girls high school division of the Detweiller at Dark cross country race held July 28 in Peoria.
All five are runners at Sandburg and hope to be back at Detweiller in the fall, when the park hosts the IHSA state meet.
Cougar Hall of Famers
Saint Xavier University inducted four former athletes and a national championship team into its athletics hall of fame on July 29.
The 2011 NAIA national champion football team picked up the honor, as did men’s basketball player Brad Karp, softball player Nicole Nonnemacher, baseball standout Ryan Quigley and women’s basketball standout Morgan Stuut.
SID of the year
Saint Xavier sports information director Chris Gbur was named the Chicagoland Collegiate Conference Sports Information Director of the Year.
Gbur was selected by his peers in the 14-school conference. He started at SXU as an intern at the Shannon Center in 2008 and was a volunteer assistant SID from 2008-2020 before taking over the full-time duties in 2020-21.
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