Written by: John Nee '93
Since 2009, the St. Rita Baseball Program has won more games than any program in the state of Illinois. Coach Mike Zunica’s Mustangs have been nationally ranked in seven of the last eight years, including a number-one national ranking by MaxPreps in 2014. At the center of most of that success have been the Soria brothers.
Zack, the oldest of the Sorias, became “famous” after leading his Lemont twelve year old team to the Little League World Series in 2006. That would be just the beginning of a blossoming baseball career. After Zack chose to attend St. Rita, he showed his great versatility early on in his St. Rita career by cracking the varsity lineup as a sophomore at shortstop despite the fact that he was a catcher. That 2010 season, Soria helped lead the Mustangs to their second consecutive Class 4A state title game appearance. In the semi-final game versus Huntley, Soria drilled a line drive down the right field line in the bottom of the seventh to help complete a walk-off 7-6 come-from-behind victory. Soria would start the next two seasons behind the plate for the Mustangs, garnering All-Conference and All-Area honors as well as beginning a tradition of the Soria Family behind the plate for the Stangs.
Nate Soria had some pretty big shoes to fill when he took over behind the plate for St. Rita as a junior in 2013, but he never buckled, picking up right where his older brother left off leading the Mustangs to even more success. As a senior, Soria helped lead the Mustangs to a 25-game winning streak to begin the 2014 season, including a tournament championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and an eventual #1 national ranking for St. Rita, the first in the baseball program’s storied history. The Mustangs would make another Class 4A state championship game appearance in 2014 before falling to LSU recruit Jake Godfrey and the rival Providence Celtics 4-1.
The decision to attend St. Rita was an easy one for the youngest of the Sorias, Blake. He had grown up watching older brothers Zack and Nate have tremendous success on the diamond and in the classroom for the Mustangs. Blake faced a difficult task keeping the Soria tradition of being the starting catcher for St. Rita because of another catcher that had come in with him by the name of Cal Greenfield. As Greenfield enjoyed early success on the varsity, Soria kept working every single day to get better and better at his craft. That hard work paid off his junior season when he took over for Greenfield for a nine-game stretch, leading the Mustangs to an impressive 8-1 record while leading the team in hitting during that time. Coming into the 2017 season, Soria will uphold the family tradition as he has solidified himself as the Mustangs starting catcher after Greenfield’s move to Florida.
When you think of St. Rita Baseball, the Sorias will always come to mind, and when you think about the Sorias, hard work, integrity and class come to mind. There may never again be a family that has had the impact on one program like the Soria brothers have had on St. Rita Baseball. The 2017 season will be a season of good-byes: not only good-bye to legendary coach Mike Zunica, but good-bye to the First Family of St. Rita Baseball: The Sorias.