Prep Baseball Report

Simeon Recovers From Big Deficit, Downs Jones

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

ELMHURST, IL – Simeon looked well on its way of getting the 10-run submission hold applied to them by Jones, a team the Wolverines had handled with ease in their two previous Chicago Public League meetings this spring. But this was the Class 4A regional semifinals, one-and-done time, and with Simeon trailing eight runs in the third inning, the newly minted Chicago Public League champions looked like toast.

Ahh, but on a day that may or may not have been legendary coach LeRoy Franklin’s crowning 800th victory, Simeon wasn’t about to lay down, Jones’ submission hold be darned. The Wolverines eventually clawed back to run away with a 17-12 marathon victory Thursday at Plunkett Park to advance to the Riverside-Brookfield Regional championship game.

Simeon, which had defeated Lake View, 3-2, last Saturday to reclaim its throne in the Chicago Public League, now improves to 28-3 and will play the winner of Friday’s Riverside-Brookfield vs. Reavis game. A work of art, it was not. But thanks to the Wolverines’ resilient spirit and a stable of Jones pitchers that could not figure out the strike pitch, Simeon survived and advanced.

Simeon, however, looked like it wouldn’t even survive through the fifth inning, as Jones mounted a convincing 11-3 lead after three innings. All phases of Simeon’s game were deflated, and everything Jones seemingly hit found open turf.

The Wolverines sprung to life in the fourth, scoring seven runs on two hits (yes, only two hits), then erupted for six more runs in the fifth. Jones’ cushy eight-run lead quickly (OK, oh-so slowly) turned into a five-run deficit.

Lorenzo EliLorenzo Elionon (pictured right) served as Simeon’s catalyst, as the slick-fielding 2016 shortstop went 4-for-4 with a walk and six RBI. All four of Elion’s hits were run-producing singles, including a pair of two-run jobs in Simeon’s big fourth and fifth innings. For good measure, Elion pitched two innings of one-run baseball to earn the save. His third strikeout of the game mercifully ended this three-hour affair.

Senior centerfielder Raphe Gross added two hits, including a two-run triple, and scored two runs. Chicago State-bound Jamary McKinney also had a triple, an RBI, and two walks. In fact, a lot of Wolverines walked. To be precise, 16 walks and three hit by pitches.  

Coming into the game, we were informed via the Twitter-sphere that coach Franklin was going for his 800th victory. This guy seemed legitimately knowledgeable; and besides, everything on Twitter is true, right? Taking this legitimate guy for his word, we neglected to call the Chicago Public League historian. But when asked prior to the game, coach Franklin had no idea if he was going for his 800th or not. He’s won so many games over the years, he’s lost count. He thought he had more than 800. So, if it was in fact coach Franklin’s 800th victory, congratulations! If it was his 920th victory, congratulations on that feat, as well. If he won his 800th a week ago, then let this serve as a belated congratulations.

OK, now that that is cleared up … back to the game.

Jones (18-14) was paced by senior shortstop Jordan Jackson, who went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a RBI. Luis Gomez added a pair of hits, two walks and two RBI, while Ethan Soderna contributed three singles, RBI and a run.

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