Baseball: Western Springs 11s advance to state tourney
Western Springs' Thomas Remijas (right) is congratulated by his teammates after hitting a grand slam home run against Olney in the opening game of the state tournament. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 3, 2012 12:47PM
WESTERN SPRINGS — Western Springs 11-year-old all-star Andrew Gatland hasn’t pitched as much as he’s used to during the postseason.
Considering the success the team is enjoying, he has no complaints.
“It’s not that big of a deal,” Gatland said. “I know my coach has reasons for it and I know we have a lot of great pitchers on the team. It doesn’t bother me.”
Gatland certainly made the most of his opportunity on the mound July 23.
Gatland pitched a complete game to help Western Springs beat Naperville American 6-1 in the championship game of the Section 2 tournament.
“It was great,” Western Springs manager Bob Waunn said of winning the section title and earning a state berth. “It’s been a little while, so to follow up winning a district championship last year with a sectional championship is great. Andrew pitched outstanding. The boys were very excited. Western Springs has so much tradition of success so it’s special to add to it.”
Western Springs got off to a strong start at State as well.
Western Springs beat Olney 14-0 in four innings Saturday at Peirce Park in Hinsdale and then beat Streator 19-9 Sunday. The championship of the double-elimination tournament may have been Wednesday (Aug. 1) or will be tonight (Aug. 2) depending on outcomes.
Thomas Remijas hit a grand slam against Olney and then had a three-run home run and two-run homer against Streator.
In the sectional tournament, Western Springs also beat Burbank 13-0 and rallied from a 4-0 deficit to defeat Naperville American 5-4 to set the stage for Gatland’s performance in the final.
“It felt really good,” Gatland said. “We’ve been waiting to do this. At our first practice, we looked pretty good and we all had a good feeling about this team. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates making all the plays and hitting like they did. I just wanted to help my team.”
Also contributing on Western Springs’ state team is Eric Steensma, Jack Hammond, Dominic Fera, Owen Waunn, Graham Sands, Nick Panos, Stone Saloum, Nolan Niego, Danny Feldmeier and Sam Hojnar.
“The coaches and I definitely thought we could get to the state round,” said Waunn, who is receiving coaching help from Dean Panos and Jon Remijas. “Our first goal was to repeat winning districts and once we saw how they responded to that goal, we knew it was possible to get to State. Everyone is contributing.”