Naperville Little League Champs to Neuqua Valley Stars; Where Are They Now?

Donate Today Buy This Video

One of the biggest coming of age activities for local athletes in the Naperville area is playing Little League baseball. As Naperville Community Television has broadcast the Naperville Little League Championships for nearly a decade, we can’t help but wonder what the future holds for these talented young athletes as we watch them showcase their skills against the best in the city.

While every team competing for the Naperville Little League championships is more than worthy, one team in recent memory stands out in hindsight, as the roster was made up almost entirely of future varsity athletes at Neuqua Valley. The 2016 Jim Wagner Plumbing Majors AA team was dominant throughout the entire season. Eight of the boys returned from the 2015 Jim Wagner Plumbing team, that lost in the Majors championship, so the group was hungry for redemption. It was a tight knit group, that relied on team chemistry and ability to thrive, and once they stepped on the diamond it felt like they were unstoppable.

2016 Redemption Tour

In a high scoring thriller, Jim Wagner Plumbing took down a valiant opponent in Judd Kendall VFW by the score of 8-6 to win the 2016 City Championship. No easy feat, as the Judd Kendall team had plenty of great players including future Naperville Central quarterback Owen Prucha, Naperville North running back Ethan Robert and Naperville North varsity baseball player Nathan Karns. It was a hard earned achievement for the group and the memories are still thought of fondly by the former team members.

Multi Sport Standouts

Eight members of the 2016 team, went on to be varsity level athletes at Neuqua Valley high school, but despite the obvious talent across the diamond, only one of them,  Josh Selby, went on to play varsity baseball for the Wildcats. Selby was the main catcher for the Jim Wagner team, the same position he plays now for Neuqua Valley baseball.

Jack Georgi, son of the team’s head coach, Jim Georgi, and John Pochyly, who hit a two run first inning homer, and recorded the game’s final out as a relief pitcher, went on to compete on a different field, suiting up for Neuqua Valley soccer. The decision worked out well for Pochyly and Georgi though, as the duo helped lead Neuqua Valley to a boys soccer regional championship this fall.

Two more key players were also teammates in a different fall sport for the blue and gold. Alec Cross, one of the ace starting pitchers for Jim Wagner Plumbing, and Noah Martin, were each members of the varsity golf team at Neuqua for multiple seasons. The Wildcats golf team also won a regional title this fall and qualified for state as a team, thanks in large part to the performances of Cross and Martin.

Another set of former teammates became future teammates in a different sport with Nick Kinkade and Cole Vonnahme becoming starters on the Neuqua basketball team who also helped their team win a regional championship earlier this year. Vonnahme, who hit the go ahead two run homer back in 2016, is also a member of Neuqua boys volleyball team.

Brains and Brawn

It’s not just the type of sports you immediately think of, where former Jim Wagner Plumbing stars continued their winning traditions. Jack Gerrity, became a member the Neuqua Valley chess team, and to no surprise based on the success of everyone else on this list, the team had a great season, finishing in 4th place at the 2022 State Chess meet.

Despite so many having great accomplishments in other sports, Selby can’t help but wonder what could have been for some of the former Little League standouts.

Even though the 2016 Majors AA Little League Championship will not be the defining moment in the lives of the former players, it is fascinating to see how it was just the beginning to a tremendous run of athletic success for so many.

For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell.