LISLE – The thrill of winning a state title was just the start for Lisle High School's baseball team.
After winning the Class 2A state title at Dozer Park in Peoria, home of the minor league Peoria Chiefs, the Lions will step up to the big leagues on July 29. That's when they will be honored at Wrigley Field prior to the Chicago Cubs game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
"I think this is going to be a whole new level," incoming senior Kevin Coppin said. "We thought Peoria was a big deal. That was a really nice field, but once we get on to Wrigley Field, it's going to be an eye-opener. Everybody is going to be looking at us."
"I think it's going to be awesome," said Ryan Van Volkenburg, who has graduated from LHS and is preparing to continue his career at Maryville University. "Getting the team back together again and being in front of all those fans, it's going to be a great experience to soak it all in. I'm looking forward to it."
Prior to the 7:05 p.m. game, Van Volkenburg, his teammates, Lisle head coach Pete Meyer and assistant coach Jason Wiertel will be recognized at home plate in the Cubs' first home game after the All-Star break. Then Meyer will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. That moment could be the highlight for the players, in more ways than one.
"I think it would be funny to see him bounce it up around the plate," Van Volkenburg said.
"Everybody thinks he's going to bounce it in," Coppin said. "We'll see what happens. We're already thinking of stuff to say to him if that happens."
Meyer himself wouldn't be all that surprised if his pitch doesn't find its way to the traditional strike zone.
"I need 10 minutes just to get a little loose, but they said I'm going in there cold," Meyer said. "My arm's not so good. I might throw it three-quarters of the way up the backstop."
The Cubs game will be just the second time the members of the Lisle team will be together since winning the state title. The first came July 2 at a pool party at the home of 2012 senior team member Kazim Khan.
In addition to the Cubs game, the Village of Lisle has declared July 29, 2013 to be "Lisle High School Baseball Day" in the Village. It's another honor for the team that had the best season in program history.
"It's going to be so cool," Coppin said. "I'm looking forward to it."