Harlem looks to fight back as regional nears

By Matt Nestor
Sports Columnist

The good news for the Harlem Huskies as they prepare to host the IHSA 4A boys’ baseball regional is that they have home field advantage.

But in the dog-eat-dog world of NIC-10 baseball and their string of NCAA Division 1 pitchers, that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

The Huskies have overcome some early struggles to be right where they expected, in the top four of the NIC-10. But the other three teams in the top with them will be at the regional, which will be no easy task.

The regional kicks off with the No. 4 seed Guilford, led by Cyrus Wimberly, taking on the 5 seed Auburn. If they win that game, they will get a shot at the Boylan Titans.

The Titans, who are coming off a 1-0 win over Harlem, should be the favorite with emerging pitcher Tyler Dray and Michael Morman on offense. But the Vikings are the only team to top the Titans so far in conference play.

“It’s awesome competition,” Boylan coach Chris Rozanski said earlier this year. “Harlem is a threat. And Hononegah arguably returned the best senior in Ryan Scarpetta.”

The Indians’ ace is what will await the Huskies in the regional. Harlem and Hononegah will square off in the third game of the regional, with the winner facing either Boylan, Guilford or Auburn.

One thing is for certain: whoever comes out of the regional will be well prepared for the rest of the IHSA tournament. The top four teams have been among the best in the state this year, and the winner will have earned their way to the next round.

From the May 19-25, 2010 issue

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