Baseball: Hinsdale Central and South to renew old rivalry
Hinsdale Central's Sam Burnett delivers a pitch, during the Red Devils' game against Oak Park-River Forest April 14. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun Times Media
Updated: May 21, 2012 8:14AM
Former teammates will meet as rivals once again when Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South get together Friday night.
“I can’t wait to beat them,” said Hinsdale Central backup catcher Tyler Ward, a former travel ball teammate with at least three members of the Hornets.
Ward’s bit of trash talking was mostly in jest. He was sitting in the dugout at Oak Park-River Forest on Saturday, after the Red Devils lost to the No. 3 Huskies 13-1 in five innings. Ward came into the first game when starter Jay Richards was injured. Ward also caught the second game, a 9-2 loss.
Hinsdale Central (7-9) will meet Hinsdale South (12-4) at Benedictine University, at 6 p.m. Friday. The game opens a tripleheader of sorts at the Lisle campus, featuring the Central vs. South girls soccer game at 7 p.m. and the Central vs. South softball game at 7:30 p.m. South is the home team this year.
The annual tripleheader has been held at least five years, but Hinsdale South coach Paul Hoel will make his debut in the series after returning to coach the Hornets, after last coaching the team several years ago. Hinsdale Central’s Justin Cronin made his coaching debut in the event at Benedictine last season.
I think a lot credit has to go to both schools, the athletic directors and the organization that we have — not just for baseball, softball and girls soccer,” Cronin said. “The whole community is involved. We are lucky to keep doing it. Any time that you put the lights on, it adds to the atmosphere.”
Each school’s athletic director will run his final Benedictine tripleheader. South’s Tim Feigh will retire at the end of the school year, and Central’s Paul Moretta recently announced that he will step down in order to return to teaching.
Ward will see some former teammates across the diamond Friday night. Ward and Hinsdale South’s Emmanuel Morris, Kyle Nelson and P.J. Schuster played together as youths on the Burr Ridge Barons travel team.
There is a good chance that Ward and Nelson could be catching for either side Friday night. Ward will catch if Richards can’t go, and Nelson becomes the Hornets’ catcher if probable starting pitcher and Villanova-bound Morris makes his expected turn in the rotation. Morris and Schuster will make their fourth Benedictine event appearance, while Nelson will play in his second.
Central won last year’s game over South 10-3.
“The main thing about the Benedictine rivalry is that the game is under the lights,” Nelson said. “A lot of people will come out. It’s a big game.”
Hinsdale South had won seven of eight games entering the week. The Hornets swept Leyden 5-0 and 4-1 Saturday, improving to 6-2 in West Suburban Gold play.
“We love having (Hoel) around,” Nelson said. “It’s a great atmosphere. We love playing for him.”
Ward, a 5-foot-7, 170-pound junior, is playing his first varsity season with his first cousin, junior Justice Camalick, a reserve outfielder. Both Ward and Camalick live in Burr Ridge. They are not the only pair of cousins playing for Hinsdale Central.
Juniors and Hinsdale residents Andrew and Jared Eck are cousins. Andrew Eck is a relief pitcher, and Jared is the leadoff hitter and starting center fielder. He went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles in the second-game defeat at OPRF.
Following Friday night’s game, Central and South meet again at 10 a.m. Saturday for a doubleheader in Hinsdale. Each year, Central and South play a three-game series against one team from the other division in the WSC. This year, Central and South play three times. Last year, Central played Downers Grove South three times, and Hinsdale South played Downers North three times as well.