Homewood’s James Hart School Panthers and Flossmoor’s Parker Junior High Falcons baseball teams are on their way to regional competition in the Illinois Elementary School Association’s baseball championships.
Hart is the first seed team going in to competition Saturday with a perfect 10-0 record to take the regional title. Hart clinched the record on Monday, Sept. 10, by beating Parker 15-7. Parker’s team record is 5-2.
Coach Grant Sikkema said Hart’s team has players that have played a summer season with the Homewood baseball league and the Chicago White Sox Aces program “and we’ve benefitted from that.”
Now the effort is to keep the team focused “and keep trending in the right direction,” he said.
In 2015, the first year James Hart joined IESA, the Panthers took second place in state competition. It’s won the regional title each of the four years it’s been competing, oftentimes beating Parker.
Hart could find itself facing Parker again.
Residents are invited to cheer the 18-member Hart team as it competes for the title in a game at 10 a.m. Saturday at Lions Field, 1041 Ridge Road in Homewood. The Homewood team will play a team from Washington School in Chicago Heights.
At 12:30 p.m. Parker Junior High will play Memorial Junior High from Lansing also at Lions Field.
The winners of those games will play a final regional baseball game at 4 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17 at Lions Field. If Hart and Parker win in the first games, they will play each other for the regional title and the winner will advance to IESA state competition.
Hart team members are seventh graders Alex Fox, Christopher Miller and Kaiden Stine playing with eighth graders David Anderson, Jason Ballard, Dylan Barnas, Jack Barry, Breyan Brooks, Kamin Cox, Anthony Fanelli, Dillon Head, Peyton Henry, Andrew Labno, Korey Mulling, Logan Quaderer, Alijah Rainey, Ethan Tucker and Kaiden Wesley.
James Hart is coached by Sikkema and fellow teacher Rick Druse.
The roster for the Parker Falcons includes Vince Waterman, Matthew Wright, Bennett Reich, Robert Tate, Dane Ivancevic, Michael Hardy, Niko Bilgi, Evan Nieter, Ayinde Kidd, Josh Moore, Larsen Prokop, Luke Griggs, Anne Rechsteiner, Lloyd Mills, Preston Lund, Declan Hughes, Arie Watson.
Parker coaches are Darryl Thompson and Ron Wright.