Vikings Capture CCL Blue Division & Regional Titles
The 2011 season started off in beautiful Orlando Florida. The Vikings got off to a fast start going a perfect 5 – 0 facing teams from New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Florida. Despite coming back to much cooler temperatures, the Vikings stayed hot as they dominated their competition, especially at beautiful Viking Field, where they went a perfect 15-0 on the season.
The Vikings also started off hot in conference play, opening up Blue division play with a dramatic win against top ranked and previously unbeaten Providence. Bryan Villanova hit a go-ahead grand slam in the fifth inning to secure the victory. Their consistent play placed them in great position to capture arguably the state’s toughest conference. The Vikings pounded out wins against St. Rita (10-2) and Mt. Carmel (12-2) along the way. The race was a close one as Providence kept pace with the Vikings throughout conference play. The Vikings went into the last week of the season needing a 2 game sweep of Br. Rice to nail down the title. The Vikings won the first match up as senior and Illinois recruit Charlie Naso shutout the Crusaders 4-0. On the final day of conference play, the Vikings scored 9 runs to beat Br. Rice and become the conference champs.
The Vikings didn’t stop there. The Vikes earned a #1 seed heading into the IHSA Regional which was hosted at St. Laurence. The Vikings beat Stagg in the semi-final 9-2, placing them into the Regional title game against Oak Lawn. Against Stagg, senior Mike Chimera through a gem, allowing only the 2 earned runs while going the distance. In the Regional title game, again it was Naso being his dominate self. The Vikings ended the game in a 5 inning slaughter rule, scoring 13 runs. The victory placed them in a semi-final matchup against Sandburg at Sandburg.
The Viking’s junior hurler Nick Altobella pitched brilliantly, allowing 1 earned run and striking out 9 Eagle hitters. Unfortunately, the Viking bats went silent on the day scoring only 1 run and eventually bowing out by a 3-1 final.
A record 10 players earned post season accolades. The Vikes placed the maximum 4 players on the Catholic League 1st team. Seniors Mike Chimera, Charlie Naso, Bryan Villanova, and Kyle Wood were the honorees. 2nd team members included freshman Mike Kornacker, sophomore Kevin Smith, juniors Nick Altobella, Brandon Mallder, and Mike Solofra, and senior Steve Fiorella.
Mike Chimera, Charlie Naso, Bryan Villanova and Kyle Wood were named 1st team All-Area, and for the second year in a row, Kyle Wood was named 1st team All-State.
The Vikings sent six of the eight seniors on to play baseball collegiately. Both Kyle Wood and Charlie Naso will now be rivals playing in the Big Ten. Kyle will join Purdue and Charlie is now a member of the Fighting Illini. Mike Chimera and Bryan Villanova will also compete against each other, with Mike pitching and playing infield at St. Francis while Bryan will be doing the catching for St. Xavier. While the other four are rivals, Brian Cummane and Tom Samansky will be teammates, both will be playing for St. Ambrose college.
In addition to sending off the seniors to great programs, the Vikings already have 2 college commitments. Senior Nick Altobella will be heading off to the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Junior Kevin Smith has given a commitment to Creighton University to play infield and pitch for the Blue jays.