The AdvantageNews has announced their spring Athletes and Coaches of the Year. Congratulations to our Explorers!
photo by Bill Roseberry
After an impressive high school career at Marquette Catholic, Jayce Maag will continue playing baseball at the college level next year.
“I’m very excited,” Maag said. “It’s a dream come true, really. I’ve been working for this my whole life, to get to the highest level possible.”
He will play at Lindenwood University, a Division II school in St. Charles, Mo.
“I want to help the team win,” he said. “I’d like to see us get to the College World Series, hopefully. Then I’d like to see us win a few games there and maybe bring one home.”
Maag played shortstop for Marquette last season after playing second base his junior and sophomore seasons. He could play either position at Lindenwood.
Accomplishment defined his last year of high school. Maag was named to the Illinois Baseball Coaches Association Class 2A all-state team and he also earned all-Prairie State Conference honors. The standout shortstop finished the season with a .485 batting average, tops on the team. He also blasted a pair of home runs, had 26 RBIs, 13 doubles, 6 triples and 21 stolen bases. He was tops on the team in doubles, triples, and stolen bases.
“It’s awesome; (Marquette) coach (Tim) Fahnestock does a good job of getting your name out there,” he said of the recognition. “If you’re the type of guy that works hard and tries to help the team win, he will recognize you for that. He will get your name out there.”
Maag led his team to a successful season, as the Explorers compiled a 20-10 record in the 2018 campaign.
“It was a goal for us, to get to 20 wins,” he said. “We got to the 20-win mark last year and we wanted to repeat it. It is special.”
The all-state selection gives a lot of credit to the back-to-back 20-win seasons and the players that manned the field with him on game day.
“I played with some great athletes,” he said. “My junior year we lost seven senior starters; they were phenomenal with Liam Maher hitting .485 or whatever he hit his senior year and with Zach Weinman, a great shortstop. Last year, Garrett Weiner stepped up a lot and so did Kyle Begnel. Luke Simmons, Ethan Kopsie, and Kyle Begnel; they all pitched well.”
Maag’s .485 average last spring represents the highest average of his career. Like any quality hitter in the world of varsity baseball, he keeps certain factors in mind when he steps up to the plate.
“I just try to look for a pitch to drive,” he said. “If I get an early curveball, I’m not going to hit that. I’m going to wait for my pitch, a fastball.”
When asked about what he’ll miss most about Marquette’s baseball program, the college-bound player talks about his team and the coaching staff.
“Coach Fahnestock, I like him, he’s a great guy,” Maag said. “It’s just a family, all of the players I played with.”
Maag also played football and basketball for the Explorers.
June 22, 2018
photo by Bill Roseberry
Meghan Schorman had reason to be excited when her senior season with the Marquette Catholic softball team started on March 14 at Granite City.
“I couldn’t wait when the season began,” the pitcher said. “When it began, I was really pumped for it.”
“It’s really cool to be part of a record-breaking season,” Schorman said. “Not many teams get to be part of that and not many players get to be part of something like that. To be part of something like that and play with the girls I did, it’s really amazing.”
The Explorers surpassed the old record of 35 wins set in 2012. They also won their first regional championship in five years after beating Southwestern in the Class 2A regional finals.
“We had a good ride and we did all that we could for the team,” Schorman said. “We left it all on the field and that was something that was really important to me. I left everything out on the field in every game because it’s my senior year.”
“It was heartbreaking, but we did the best that we could and we didn’t get the outcome that we wanted,” Schorman said. “But knowing we left it out on the field was something that helped me get through it.”
Schorman won 61 games and struck out a total of 905 batters during her three-year career at Marquette. She credits pitching coach Darrell Gaudio for her outstanding career.
“He has helped me develop a change-up,” Schorman said. “He has helped me become a better pitcher overall and helped me get ready for college. That means the world to me, and I’m thankful for it.”
Schorman joined the Marquette program in her freshman year. She was 18-12 with a 1.72 earned run average with 303 strikeouts.
After sitting out in her sophomore year, Schorman returned to the Explorers in her junior year and finished 17-4 with 256 strikeouts.
This season, Schorman won her first 12 games before losing to Pinckneyville on April 21. She later went on a 14-game winning streak.
The Marquette senior also turned in a solid season at the plate, hitting a team-best .470 with three home runs and 41 RBIs.
Schorman hopes for a successful career at the University of Pittsburgh. She signed to play for the ACC school on Nov. 8.
“I’m so excited,” Schorman said. “It’s a new experience and I’m ready for whatever it brings me.”
June 22, 2018
photo by Bill Roseberry
The Marquette Catholic boys tennis team is in good hands.
Daniel McCluskey, a junior, and A.J. Bower, a sophomore, are leading the way. Both are multi-time state qualifiers and together are making waves.
As a sophomore, McCluskey reached the consolation quarterfinals with then-senior Jon Claywell at the Class A state tournament, posting a 5-2 mark. Bower, a freshman, qualified for state with now-graduated Joe Segneri, going 1-2 at state.
With their partners departed, head coach Mike Walters paired the two talented netters and a 22-1 regular season record transpired, along with another trip to the Class A consolation quarters. They finished the year 30-3.
McCluskey was quick to point out that one regular season blemish was an anomaly, too.
“Against Sacred Heart-Griffin we both played singles matches and had to forfeit the doubles match because I had cramped up,” he said. “Other than that, we didn’t have an actual loss on the season.”
Solid chemistry and diligent motivation were two factors to their success, along with talent and relentless preparation.
“He always pushed me to be the best player I could be and I did the same for him,” Bower said. “We just kept pushing to be the best.”
There was evidence the duo could have a special season after the first time they stepped on the court together in 2018 against Saint Louis University High.
“Against SLU we lost the first set 6-4 and were down 5-2 in the second set, and then it clicked and we started rolling,” McCluskey said. “We came back and won that set 7-5 and won the tiebreaker 10-7. That was an incredible win, especially for the first match of the season. You could definitely tell we were going to do something.”
A Triad Sectional championship, where they didn’t drop a set, led to a 9-16 seed at state and prepared them for a nice run. They won their first two championship bracket matches before a 6-3, 2-6, 6-0 loss to Andy Hinch and Joe Demirjian of Mount Zion dropped them into the consolation bracket.
Another win sent them to the third day at state, or a loss ended their season. Their opponents, Steven Chacko and David Wu of Dunlap, were seeded 3-4. They earned a hard-fought 6-1, 0-6, (11-9) victory to advance to Day 3.
“The most exciting part was on Day 2 at state; our last match we upset the No. 3 seed that got second place the year before,” McCluskey said. “We beat them in a third-set tiebreaker to go to Day 3. That was a lot of fun.”
Bower admitted it was a confidence booster.
“I was feeling pretty confident after winning on Day 2. I thought we could beat any team,” Bower said. “But the next day that didn’t happen.
“It was a great experience,” Bower added of playing on Day 3. “Last year it wasn’t too long-lived. It was great to see (McCluskey and Claywell) make it to Day 3.”
McCluskey said he drew a lot on the experiences of that run as a sophomore. He expects those experiences and hard work to bring even more success for him and Bower next year.
“We have all offseason and next season to keep getting better for the playoffs,” McCluskey said.
June 22, 2018
A 20-10 record, a Prairie State Conference crown
Coach Wiedman enjoyed another outstanding season as Marquette softball coach this spring. He coached the Explorers to a 36-2 record, a Prairie State Conference title and their first regional championship since ‘13. The 36 wins marked a school record for Marquette. Wiedman also hit a milestone, winning his 500th career game in the Explorers’ 2-1 victory over Highland on April 13. He now has 524 wins in his 24 seasons as Marquette coach. The Explorers had four players — Meghan Schorman, Tess Eberlin, Gracie Morris and Jada Johnson — earn Class 2A all-state honors.
Coach Walters helped Marquette achieve another quality spring season. The Explorers advanced two entries to the Class A state tournament, one in singles and one in doubles. Daniel McCluskey and A.J. Bower teamed up to win the Triad Sectional title before advancing to the consolation quarterfinals on the third day at state. Nathan Joehl qualified for state in singles after finishing fourth at sectionals. It was the fourth straight year Marquette has had a state qualifier and second consecutive season the Explorers have had multiple entries at state. Marquette was 12-3 in dual action in 2018.