The 32-team Nor-Am High School League has reached the final round of its playoffs, and the two teams competing for the NAHS World Series have been set, with the Indy Division champs, Central Chicago Prep, already drawing first blood.
The Bankers defeated the Dutch Colonial Academy Gunners in a lopsided 10-0 blowout, leaving the shell-shocked Gunners with just 4 hits after senior Chris Riddle dismantled the Caribbean island team’s batting. Riddle threw 88 pitches, with 50 of them strikes, as he teamed up with lefty Eddie Wear to extinguish the Gunners run-scoring hopes.
Meanwhile, the Bankers run support came in waves, first with a pair of runs in the 3rd coming on a Christos Lewis 2-run homer. Then, an onslaught began in the 6th inning, a single run frame that started a tidal wave the following inning. Bankers scored 5 more runs in the 7th, following by another 2 in the 8th, including a solo shot from freshman Antonio de Jesus.
The Bankers defense looked solid, as well, cleanly handling all but on batted ball, and turning two double-plays.
There is little question Central Chicago Prep is the stronger team, having finished 1st with a 21-9 record, and breezing through the first two rounds of the playoffs. Meanwhile, the small school from Sint Eustatius, Dutch Colonial Academy, has looked out of place, having entered the playoffs at the 3rd place team in the International Conference’s Division 1.
DCA had only been promoted from Division 2 after a good run last year, and seemed to dispose of the 2017 NAHS champs, Guadalupe HS Slashers, with some ease. But they struggled to win two straight against Cancun in the second round after falling behind 0-1, largely relying on offense from catcher Cesar Lozano, who homered twice in that series. But Lozano did not get the start today against the Bankers, instead coming in late in the game as a pinch hitter, but failing to generate any offense.
The series moves to Chicago on the 14th.