Around The Diamond


Photo courtesy of the H-F baseball team

It’s gone! The Vikings celebrate a home run at home plate on their new home field turf.

After being ranked #4 in the Illinois PBR Preseason Power 25, the Vikings are 16-8 and have had some ups and downs to begin the season.

The Vikings began the season winning their first two games over Oak Lawn 8-1 and Bishop McNamara 5-0, but with moving up in the rankings comes higher competition.

The Vikings early success would come to a halt as the Vikings took on #2 Brother Rice. After going up 1-0 early in the third inning the Vikings would concede 11 unanswered runs, in the following four innings, and fall to Brother Rice 11-1. 

Four days later the Vikings would travel to LaGrange Park to play #5 Nazareth Academy. After going into the top of the seventh inning down 3-6, H-F proved why they were one of the best teams in Illinois, scoring four runs and pulling out a resilient 7-6 victory.

These early competitive games allowed for the Vikings to absorb some valuable experience to use throughout the remainder of the season.

Our team has learned that we can’t lose focus and take pitches off against really good teams,” H-F Head Coach John McCarthy said. “We need great focus and an even greater understanding of the details that it takes to win against quality opponents as the margin of error is slim.”

The Vikings schedule wouldn’t get any easier as H-F traveled to Kentucky to take on some top teams in the midwest over spring break.

In Louisville the Vikings faced the third-ranked team in Kentucky, the St. Xavier Tigers. The game would be an exciting one with the Vikings pulling out a gutsy 13-10 victory in extra-innings. 

H-F would go on to play three more highly contested games in Louisville against Trinity, #15 ranked in the nation, and St. Xavier, yet again. In the second head-to-head matchup against the Tigers, the Vikings pulled out a close 6-4 win. 

While Vikings were able to utilize their explosiveness against St. Xavier, Trinity would prove to be a difficult challenge. After going toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the country, the Vikings would end up nearly losing to Trinity by a final of 7-4. 

The Vikings final game in Kentucky was against yet another competitive opponent in the St. Xavier Bombers. H-F would not find the same success against this St. Xavier team as they lost by another close score of 7-5. 

The Vikings went 2-2 on this road trip and were able to find some memorable experiences playing against some of the best competition not only in the midwest but in the entire country. 

Kentucky was a really good trip for us,” senior Will Goldberg said. “If there’s one thing I think we learned, it’s that we can play with any team in the Midwest. If we lose, we’re beating ourselves.”

When the Vikings returned, their schedule did not get any easier. Since returning from Kentucky H-F has gone 11-5, with their most notable win over rival Providence Catholic. 

H-F’s win over the Providence Catholic Celtics has the chance to be a turning point in the Vikings’ season. Last season, with one win needed to advance to the 2021 state championship finals, Providence Catholic defeated H-F by a score of 3-2 in the super-sectional. 

After getting revenge over Providence Catholic this early in the season may prove to have brought a spark and added motivation to the remainder of the Vikings season. 

Beating Providence meant a lot to us, but I think what really hurt from that loss last year was that we were so close to winning our first sectional championship,” Goldberg said. “So while there is a sense of closure from that win, we won’t fully get our revenge until there’s a sectional plaque in our trophy case.”

Over the last two seasons the Vikings have relied on their veteran leadership to guide the team to success.

This senior class is off the charts. This group is all about the team,” McCarthy said. “They don’t worry much about individual stats as much as team success.”

H-F is currently on a hot streak winning seven of their last nine since beating Providence Catholic.

Like all teams the main goal at the start of the season is to win a championship, but for the Vikings, team progress is the biggest key going forward. 

Our main goal each day is to get better and improve as a baseball team. By playoff time, we want to be the best version of ourselves and play our best baseball,” McCarthy said. “If that’s good enough to win, we can accept the results as long as our process to be a champion is excellent.”

As of May 9, the Vikings have eight games remaining before the start of the postseason.

H-F will look to get back to the super-sectional and advance to the state championship finals for the first time in school history with the playoffs beginning with regionals on May 23.