By: John Nee '93
The Chicago Catholic League Blue Conference is widely regarded as not only the best baseball conference in the state of Illinois, but also as one of the very best conferences in the entire country.
With that being said, when it’s time to choose an all-conference team, invariably some really good baseball players will be omitted from the final list. That was the case again this year as only three St. Rita Mustang seniors were named first team All-CCL Blue at the conference meeting last Sunday.
Senior Kansas signee Steven Washilewski led the way for the Mustangs with his sterling (4-0) record against Catholic League Blue competition. In his four starts against Blue opponents (Providence, Brother Rice, Mt. Carmel, and St. Laurence) Wash allowed only four earned runs while striking out 25 and walking only three in his 25 innings of work. His line also included complete game shutouts at Providence and at Brother Rice. Overall, Washilewski leads the Mustang pitching staff in almost every category with a 10-1 record and a minuscule 0.83 ERA while striking out 87 batters and walking only 16 in his 67 1/3 innings pitched.
Senior first baseman and Benedictine University signee Tyler Woynerowski joined Washilewski on the first team. Woynerowski in 21 Catholic League games hit .375 with four homeruns and 23 RBIs to lead the Mustang offense. Overall, on the season he is hitting .353 with four homers and 32 RBIs.
The third member from St. Rita to be named to the first team All-CCL Blue team was senior second baseman/pitcher Lewis signee Matt Verdun. In his 21 league games, Verdun led the Mustangs with a .441 average and a .552 on base percentage. He also hit one homerun and drove in 14 to go along with his team-leading 10 doubles. Overall, Verdun leads St. Rita with a .481 average with one homer and 28 RBIs including a robust .552 on base percentage.
Retiring Head Coach Mike Zunica was voted the Lawless Award Winner as the top coach in the league by his fellow coaches, an award to an out-going legend in the league who has left an imprint on all things baseball in the Catholic League for many years to come. Zunica is a member of the Catholic League Hall of Fame after starring at St. Francis De Sales in the early 1980s and leading the St. Rita baseball program to unprecedented heights in his 21 years at the helm.
St. Rita Baseball competes next in a sectional playoff game vs. Br. Rice at St. Rita on Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.