JOLIET | If coach Brian Hurry was a bit low key during Mount Carmel's championship celebration, perhaps it was because he was remembering the members of the Caravan family who couldn't be at the game.
Mount Carmel player Stevie Bajenski died after undergoing heart surgery in 2009, assistant coach Tony Morsovillo died in 2010 from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and player Kevin Kennelly was killed in 2011 at an Indiana beach.
"We've had to endure a lot of rough things the last few years," Hurry said.
Soph spot: Catcher Scott Kapers spent part of the season on the sophomore squad, and didn't become the Caravan's full-time backstop until late in the season.
"We do not win the state championship without Scott Kapers' defense behind the plate, period," Hurry said. "We really threw him into the fire."
Bragging rights?: Mount Carmel may always be, at it's core, a football school. But shortstop Jerry Houston is going to enjoy a baseball summer.
"Maybe this'll shut up some of my football buddies, who are always flashing their rings," he said, smiling.
A real knockout: The "A" at the beginning of Mount Carmel leadoff man Ako Thomas' name is silent.
It is pronounced "Kayo."
Throughout the state finals, his name was pronounced "Ay-ko."
He ain't heavy ... : University of Illinois sophomore pitcher John Kravetz was in attendance to support his brother Jeremy, Saturday's starting pitcher for Mount Carmel.
John pitched for Mount Carmel in the 2011 Class 4A state semifinals, losing to Lyon Township.
Another trophy for JCA: The 21st century has been good to Joliet Catholic Academy, which won the Class 3A title with a 5-0 decision over Wheaton St. Francis.
It was the Hilltoppers' sixth trophy since 2000. They also took first in 2009, finished second in '00 and '04, third in '08 and fourth in '10.
JCA (25-14) benefitted from four errors by St. Francis (25-12) in the title game, scoring three unearned runs.
St. Charles East takes third: A four-run second that opened with three consecutive walks spurred St. Charles to a 6-4 win over Neuqua Valley in the Class 4A third-place game.
Leadoff hitter Nick Erickson followed walks to the Saints' seven, eight and nine hitters with a two-run double and scored on Joe Hoscheit's two-run single.
Matt Starai (11-1) picked up the win, going five innings. St. Charles finished 28-12, while Neuqua Valley closed at 30-11.
Common sense: Despite playing 41 and 40 games, respectively, entering the state title contest, and resting roughly 40 miles apart, Mount Carmel and Libertyville had just one common opponent on the season: Highland Park.
On March 23, the Caravan lost 1-0 to Highland Park. On April 20, Libertyville beat the Giants, 11-1 in six innings.