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Sports

Morris was a double-sport state qualifier in 1994-95

There are not many high schools that can say they participated in the state championship game in both football and baseball in the same season. The Morris Redskins can!

In the 1994-95 football season, Morris lost to Belvidere in the IHSA Class 4A title game and then won the big prize in the 1995 baseball season.

The Redskins, under the leadership of head coach Denny Steele, won 23 straight games before dropping their first game of the year in early May to Plainfield 2-1.

Morris got back on the winning trail with an 8-4 win over the same Plainfield team a few days later. Joe Zweeres paced the 'Skins, going 4-for-4 with 4 RBI. Wes Shannon hit a two-run homer for the winning Redskins. Kevin Skrtich pitched a complete game for the victory.

Morris continued its winning ways by beating Geneva 9-0 behind the pitching of Quinn Schafer, who tossed a one-hitter, moving his season mark to 9-0. Phil Jorstad paced Morris by going 3-for-4, hitting two homers, his seventh and eighth of the year and adding three runs batted in. Jon Overton was 3-for-4 on the game.

Minooka won two of the three games in the very next series. The Indians beat Morris 6-5 in Game 1. Joe Giarrante went the distance for Minooka. Morris out hit Minooka 9-7 during the game. Jason Rodeghero and Zweeres homered for Morris. Minooka was paced by Pete Fleming (2-for-3), Chris Basak (2-for-4) and Jeremy Bavirsha (2-for-4 with a home run).
The Minooka win also tied them with Morris for the conference leadership with 15-2 marks.

Kevin Skrtich pitched a complete game four-hitter as Morris won game two of the series, 6-2. The junior righthander moved his season mark to 8-0 by striking out eight Indians.Justin Olson led Morris, going 3-for-4 with two RBI. The victory moved Morris' record to 26-2 for the year and 16-2 in league play. Minooka's record went to 17-9 and 15-3 in the Little Seven.

Pitchers Jake Lambros of Morris and Kyle Sevens provided a real pitchers showcase, with the Indians winning game three of the series 3-2. Stevens got the game-winning hit for Minooka, scoring Jason Schladenhauffen in the seventh inning. Wes Shannon was 2-for-3 for the Redskins and drove in two runs in a losing cause.

In late May, Morris won a doubleheader from Geneva 12-2 and 14-5 to clinch the Little Seven co-championship with Minooka, as both teams finished league play with 18-3 marks. On the season Morris compiled a 30-3 mark as the regular season was nearing the end.

The Redskin beat Pontiac in a double-header 5-3 and 3-0. Mark Clemmons hurled a no-hitter in a five-inning contest for the 'Skins in Game 2. Most seniors on the team were gone, due to a senior class trip.

The Redskins dropped a 5-3 verdict to Bradley-Bourbonnais to close out the regular season with 30-4 record for the year.

In the opener of the IHSA Class AA regionals, Morris beat Plainfield 8-4, as the Skins used all three of their ace pitchers. Schafer, Lambros and Skritch all pitched for the winning Redskins. Wes Shannon had two hits for Morris.

Next up for Morris was the always tough Lockport Porters. The Redskins prevailed 3-1 to move their  season mark to 32-4. Jon Overton was 2-for-4 and clubbed a home run. While Morris was winning, Minooka suffered a season-ending loss to Joliet Catholic, 4-0. The Indians closed the year at 23-10. JCA was 29-1 for the year.

Morris won what was possibly the biggest win of the year to date, shutting out JCA 2-0 behind the pitching of Schafer. The Morris Lefty was matched against one of the top pitchers in the state in Kai Freeman, who had an 0.38 ERA on the year. JCA was the defending state champion and the top seed in the Class AA Lemont Regional.

Freeman had a perfect game going until the seventh inning, when Morris scored twice to ice the game. Schafer tired in the seventh inning and Jake Lambros entered the game and preserved the big victory. Both teams had two hits.

Morris was now 33-4 heading into the Oswego Sectional, where they would face Benet Academy in the opening round game.

Morris downed Benet 7-5 behind the pitching of Lambros with assistance from Skritch. Lambros hurled 6 1/3 innings for the win. Zweeres paced Morris by batting 3-for-4 and a big hit in the second inning to get the Redskins off and running. Overton was 2-for-3, while Shannona recorded a run-scoring double.

The Redskins earned their third Elite Eight berth in four years with a sectional championship over Downers Grove South, 5-3. Rodeghero was the hitting star for Morris, batting 2-for-3 with
Three RBI. Skrtich started for Morris, but was relieved by Schafer, who pitched five innings for the win, his eleventh against no defeats on the year.

Morris opened the State tourney beating Barrington 8-4 at Elfstrom Stadium in Geneva. Brian Riley was 3-for-4 for Morris. Overton and Skrtich had two hits, while Shannon and Rodeghero homered for the winning 'Skins.  Justin Olson added triple. Lambros (9-4) got the win in relief for starter Schafer.

Morris beat Chicago Clemente 11-4 in the Semifinal game. Overton, Skrtich and Jorstad all had two hits for Morris. Skrtich hurled a complete game for the winning 'Skins.

Morris won the biggest game in the long history of Morris baseball, rolling past Chatham Glenwood 12-4 to claim the Class AA state championship. Lambros went the distance on the mound for Morris. Hitting starts were Overton, Skrtich and Olson with two hits each.

Morris finished the year at 38-4.

“They (the kids) wanted to get it. And that’s how hard these kids worked. It was a great job by Morris," Steele said. "You can see all the people (fans) here from the community. They really backed the team.”

Assistant coach Todd Crose had these thoughts: “It’s been a lot of hard work and it’s been a lot of fun. To get it done on this field in the fashion that we did and the route we had to take, is just a tremendous feeling.”

Kevin Skrtich was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Skrtich, Overton and designated hitter Brian Riley made the All-Tournament team.

Another great great sports moment involving local high schools.

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