North DuPage River Pony Stars sweep South

CREST HILL – The weather tried valiantly to control the DuPage River Pony Conference finals, with Saturday’s downpour forcing postponement of the scheduled third-place and championship games.

Things were back on for Sunday, however, and after the third-place and championship games, the North and South All-Star teams, consisting of players from Channahon, Stone City, Whiteford, Crest Hill and St. Joe’s, played their traditional doubleheader at Richland School. North swept, beating South, 5-1, and 3-0.

In Game 1, Crest Hill pitcher Eddie Valdez, who had a 1.38 regular-season ERA and 100 strikeouts, held South to one run on six hits while striking out 11, walking none and hitting one.

After two scoreless innings, North got on the board when Whiteford’s Zach Sherrill hit a two-run homer, scoring Stone City’s Cole Smith, who had singled and stolen second.

In the bottom of the fourth, South cut the lead to 2-1 on a single by St. Joe’s Nick Pauly and a double by St. Joe’s Zach Bebar.

North scored twice in the sixth on a double by Stone City’s Jake Sobun, an error and singles by Valdez and Stone City’s Sarah Gersch, the first female ever selected to the all-conference games.

Crest Hill’s Nathaniel Magalon and Isaiah Zaragoza executed a suicide squeeze to increase North’s lead to 5-1, closing out the scoring.

For South, Troy’s Zach Offerman pitched six innings, allowing five runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts, no walks and two hit batsmen. Valdez doubled for the North. Pauly, St. Joe’s Nick Trevino and Bebar had two hits for the South.

In Game 2, Zaragoza, who sported a 0.88 regular-season ERA, posted the first shutout in the history of the all-conference games.

He allowed four hits, stuck out five and walked two.

Zaragoza got all of the runs he needed in the bottom of the first. Valdez led off with a single, Zaragoza sacrificed and Stone City’s Cole Smith singled, Sherrill followed with his second homer of the night, a three-run shot.

Crest Hill’s James Epting had a double and Whiteford’s Neal Messino and RJ Kohlstedt singled for the North. 

For the South, Channahon Sports Huddle pitcher Zach Gessner also pitched well. After giving up the three-run homer, he allowed no runs.

In six innings, he struck out six, walked three and hit one. He allowed five singles and a double, in addition to Sherrill’s decisive homer.

Adding hits for South were Channahon Troutman Excavating’s Austin Markee and St. Joe’s Pauly, Bebar and Dan Dominguez. For the North, Sobun closed out the game, pitching the seventh inning, allowing no hits and striking out two.