In the 15 year history of Naperville Sports Weekly, only one baseball team has lifted the IHSA State Championship trophy at the end of the season. To end our Season 15 Vintage Moments series, Justin Cornwell takes us back to Season 3 of NSW in this Naperville Central baseball Vintage Moment sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.
The 2010 Naperville Central Redhawks baseball team was a well stocked and hungry group, that had advanced to the Super Sectionals in 2009 before being eliminated by O’Fallon. The program had won the 2006 State Championship under longtime head coach Bill Seiple, and was eager to bring home another title.
The roster was loaded with talent at the plate and on the mound. Bobby Czarnowski, Matt Cmiel, Shane Conlon, Nick Linne, and Matt Mantucka all hit over .350 in the every day lineup. As pitchers, Conlon, Dan Ludwig and Mason Hallett all had ERA’s under 2.00 and went a combined 26-0 on the season!
Conlon was a Naperville Native who transferred from St. Rita before his senior season to play his final year in High School with the Redhawks. It was a move that turned Naperville Central into a juggernaut. Conlon was named an All-American and the Illinois Player of the Year by the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald.
And wouldn’t you know it, the Redhawks rolled to the 2010 4A State Finals, avenging the loss against O’Fallon to face St. Rita in the Championship Game. And it was Conlon who took the mound against his former team. Central jumped out to a 4-0 lead going to the bottom the fourth, but the Mustangs scored four in the bottom of the 4th to tie the game.
The Redhawks were able to shake the rough inning off and score five of their own in the top of the 5th. That would be more than enough for Conlon, who finished things off with a complete game victory by the score of 10-4. Naperville Central celebrated the program’s second state championship in five years, capping off an incredible 38-4 season. A team that will live on as one of the best to ever put on the red and white uniforms.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell.