By Mike Clark
A historic season for Lindblom baseball ended in painful fashion — literally — for the Eagles and star junior Andrew Crenshaw.
But that didn’t overshadow all the Eagles accomplished or stop them from thinking about what could be ahead.
Lindblom won the second regional and first sectional in program history, reaching the Class 3A Elite Eight before falling 8-0 to defending state champ Nazareth in a supersectional at Ozinga Field in Crestwood.
Three Roadrunners pitchers combined on a no-hitter. Lindblom catcher George Salazar reached base twice, getting hit by a pitch in the second inning and walking in the fourth. Crenshaw had a walk and a stolen base, while Ameer Rule also was hit by a pitch and Xavier Arroyo walked to account for the Eagles’ other baserunners.
Crenshaw, a first-team All-City pick, banged knees with left fielder Gustavo Padilla while chasing a double hit by Nazareth freshman Landon Thome (the son of Hall of Famer Jim Thome) leading off the sixth inning.
“A little miscommunication on the fly ball,” Crenshaw said. “Hurt on the contact, my knee/thigh area. But I’ll be good.”
So will the Eagles next spring, with Crenshaw, the starting shortstop, and Padilla, a fellow junior who made the All-City second team, leading the way.
“All of our younger guys got a little more experienced,” Crenshaw said. “This was a good year for them. My freshman year, we really didn’t do much. We didn’t have that many leaders on our team. But now that our team is older … our younger guys will know what to do better next year.
“And us older guys will be seniors next year, so we know we’ve been here before. We know we have to do the same thing we did this year.”
What the Eagles did was play their best baseball at the end of the season, and be competitive against a challenging schedule.
They finished 14-13 overall, 6-8 in the top-tier Jackie Robinson South. They split with Public League champ Kenwood, beat Simeon for the first time in program history and had eight losses by two runs or fewer.
Lindblom lost 10-2 to St. Ignatius in its season opener on March 20 and fell behind the Wolfpack 5-0 after one inning of the sectional final before rallying to win 8-6.
“It was just a matter of us jelling,” coach Ryan Robinson said. “With me being in my first year (as head coach), trying to figure out my pieces and how to move them and then figuring out expectations.”
The Eagles’ development was slowed by weather issues that led to eight games being canceled.
“So we were behind the (eight) ball a little bit but we got going when we needed to,” Robinson said. “Beginning of the year we had high expectations for our team,” Crenshaw said.
“And we really just underperformed. We didn;t play to the best of our ability.”
But the Eagles learned from those close losses, which “gave us the adversity we needed to take us into playoffs with a different mindset,” Crenshaw said. “We’re tougher, we’re all stronger.”