Every year the St. Rita Baseball team seems to be at the top of the standings in the Chicago Catholic League, near the top of the state rankings, and in contention for a state title. One might wonder how a program can sustain such success for such a long time. Just like a Major League baseball team, everything is built from the ground up. “It starts at the lower levels,” Head Baseball Coach and Athletic Director Mike Zunica stated.” Those programs cultivate and prepare the players for varsity baseball. By the time they get to me, they are polished and ready to compete.”
The question of how St. Rita sustains such long term success was answered this weekend when both the freshmen and sophomore baseball teams took home the Chicago Catholic League Championship. In what is widely known as one of the best conferences in the state of Illinois, the two teams combined for a record of 44-10 on the season and 34-5 in conference play.
Head sophomore baseball coach, Bill Heaney, a 2005 graduate of the baseball program attributes the success to the all around experience St. Rita baseball brings to the players. “This is a program in every definition of the term,” Heaney said. “The players know what a privilege it is to put on the uniform and dream of one day playing for Coach Zunica at the varsity level. That kind of determination and motivation is created by years and years of success at all levels.”
The two championships add to a long list of success the St. Rita program has had over the years. The varsity team, ranked in the top 10, has its sight set on a championship of their own. Coach Zunica believes that winning at the other levels is contagious and can lead to big things for his varsity club. “Winning and losing is contagious, and we have a bunch of winners in this program. Some of these guys will be up with us hopefully helping us win a championship of our own.”
The varsity baseball team is getting ready for the “Do it Stevie’s Way Tournament” held this week and through the weekend. After the tournament, the Mustangs will have their focus on the state playoffs which begins May 22nd.