Every year the St. Rita Community comes together for their opening school year mass on the feast of St. Augustine. On Monday the student body, faculty, and staff gathered in the Shrine Chapel to celebrate the opening of the 2017-2018 academic year and one of the most influential saints to all of the St. Rita Community, St. Augustine.
Before mass Fr. Paul Galetto, Head of School at St. Rita, honored the 2017 Summer State Champion St. Rita Varsity Baseball Team. He also recognized some individuals who turned in extraordinary performances in the Mustangs' run to the title and for their efforts were named to the Phil Lawler Summer State Tournament All-Tournament Team.
The Mustangs were led by senior three-sport star Frank Napleton who was named the winner of the Jack Kaiser Summer State Tournament MVP. The senior first baseman and cleanup hitter led the offensive charge for St. Rita throughout the week-long tournament as he drove in big runs in all of the Mustangs wins on their way to the championship.
Napleton, who also is a top-line player on the St. Rita varsity hockey team and a starting receiver on the varsity football team, moved to first base this summer after spending the 2017 spring season as a backup catcher. He follows in the footsteps of his older brother Marty, a 2013 St. Rita grad, who starred for the Mustangs in both baseball and hockey before recently finishing a stellar baseball career at St. Joseph College in Rensselaer, IN. Luke, the youngest of the Napleton boys, served as the Mustangs designated hitter throughout their playoff run, and he will be a key contributor to both the varsity baseball and hockey teams in his upcoming sophomore year.
Joining Napleton on the Phil Lawler Summer State Tournament all-tournament team were fellow senior David Gleaves and junior infielder Brendan Carrane and pitcher Vic Aguilar.
Gleaves and Carrane provided a spark for the Mustang offense all summer long hitting in the 1 and 2 spot in the St. Rita order. Their speed and bunting ability allowed the Mustangs to register some key big innings on their way to the title.
Aguilar pitched the Mustangs into the semifinals of the tournament with a complete-game victory over Buffalo Grove. Unheralded coming into the summer, the Mustangs decided to give the inexperienced Aguilar an opportunity hoping to get four or five good innings out of him before going to the pen. The junior left-handed hurler, though, continued to get stronger every inning and made it impossible for the St. Rita coaching staff to take the ball from him.
The 2017 Summer State Championship marked the fourth title in St. Rita history following championships in 2005, 2009, and 2013.
By John Nee