Baseball: Bajenski tournament in full swing ThursdayProvidence Catholic's starting and winning pitcher #8 David Hearne fields the ground ball for the 1st base vs Mount Carmel held at home and Providence won 6-4 on Saturday, May 5, 2012. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
The inaugural Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Tournament kicks into high gear with games Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Bajenski was a senior at Mount Carmel when he died Aug. 28, 2009, of complications from heart surgery.
The first game of the tourney took place May 4, with Providence defeating New Trier 5-1.
The eight-team tourney boasts a nice blend of local and state powers, including New Trier, Providence, Mount Carmel, Marian Catholic, Oak Park-River Forest, St. Laurence, Oak Lawn and St. Rita.
Games will be spread out at three locations: Benedectine University in Lisle, Silver Cross Stadium in Joliet and Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
Scheduling information can be found at www.doitsteviesway219.com.
After every game, a “Do It Stevie’s Way” award will be presented to a player from each team who best exemplifies “Stevie’s Way” during the tournament.
Bajenski wasn’t the most physically gifted player, but his work ethic, team-first attitude and respect for the game more than made up for it.
All proceeds from the tourney will go to the “Do It Stevie’s Way 2:19,” which supports Mount Carmel High School Scholarship, Ronald McDonald House, ALS, and various youth programs such as the Ambassador 2 Ambassador Leadership.
“The goal of this tournament is to make this a grand stage for high school baseball, Stevie’s legacy and for teaching kids the right way to approach baseball, friends, family and life,” said Mark Bajenski, Stevie’s father.
Evergreen Park to honor
one of its own
Evergreen Park plans to honor assistant softball coach Jim Ryan, who died earlier this spring after a long battle with cancer. The Mustangs play Illiana Christian at 6 p.m. Friday at Standard Bank Stadium, with all proceeds from the gate being donated to a cancer research foundation in Ryan’s name.
On Saturday, the baseball and softball programs will give a free clinic for area youth at the high school from 1 to 3 p.m.
“One of coach Ryan’s favorite sayings was, ‘Why say no, when you can yes,’ ” Evergreen Park coach Mark Smyth said. “Coach John O’Connor (Evergreen Park’s softball coach) and I thought running a volunteer clinic for area youngsters would be a great way to honor coach Ryan.
“We want to teach our players the importance of giving back to their community, much the same way coach Ryan did so many times.”