Frank Mariani hasn't been taking it easy in his first month after his retirement from teaching at Palatine.
Mariani is coaching a baseball team of players from Palatine in the first year of the six-team Suburban Chicago Connie Mack Baseball League. And it's been a successful debut as it won the league title and has an 18-2 record.
Palatine will play in the six-team Connie Mack state tournament starting next Wednesday in Ottawa.
"We're playing well and enjoying it and the parents enjoy it," said Mariani, who coached the Palatine American Legion to a state title in 1989 and a Cook County crown in 1997. "It's so much fun and there's no bickering. The kids are having fun and they're excited about next week."
Cody Bobbit, Dan Haze, Mike Czarnik, Alex Miramontes, Joe Walsh and Scott Schneberger were selected to play in the league's all-star game at 5 p.m. Monday at Duke Childs Field in Winnetka. Vince Portera, Eric Scheuermann, Kurt Becker, Elliot Brustad, Nick Roy, Jake Demars, Dan Riddle and Anthony Fortunato are also playing for Palatine.
Jesse Bobbit was also playing but suffered a summer-ending separated shoulder. Mariani said Bobbit will be ready for football season.
All games are played with wood bats and league president Don Wallace said the league is considering expanding for next year. Wilmette, Glenview, Loyola, Highland Park and Morton Grove also have Connie Mack teams.
Palatine opens state tourney play at 4 p.m. Wednesday against Ottawa. The top two teams advance to the regional in Battle Creek, Mich., with the the national tournament in Farmington, N.M.
"The competition (at state) will be tough but it will be a good experience for the kids," Mariani said.
Mariani said he'll see what happens when it comes to coaching the team again next summer. Next spring Mariani plans to go to Las Vegas to help his son Bubba, who was recently named the head baseball coach at Desert Pines High School.
"He's always wanted to do that and he'll do a good job," Frank Mariani said of Bubba, who was a football and baseball standout at Palatine in the mid-1990s. "It will be fun."
Former Mid-Suburban League standouts Austin Wright (Conant), Kyle Gaedele (Rolling Meadows) and Zach Borenstein (Buffalo Grove) have started their professional baseball careers a month after being drafted after their junior seasons in college.
Wright, the hard-throwing left-hander who was taken in the eighth round by the Phillies out of the University of Mississippi, is at Class A Williamsport (Pa.). Wright is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA in 4 games (3 starts) and has 23 strikeouts and 4 walks in 18 innings.
Gaedele was taken in the sixth round by the Padres out of Valparaiso and is at Class A Eugene (Ore.). The outfielder is hitting .224 with 4 doubles, 9 RBI, 3 steals and 13 walks in 17 games.
The versatile Borenstein was taken in the 23rd round by the Angels out of Eastern Illinois and is with their Rookie League team in Arizona. Borenstein is hitting .242 with a homer, 2 triples and 4 RBI.
Former Elk Grove standout pitcher Ryan Copeland is in his second year in the Cardinals organization at Class A Quad City.
Copeland is 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA and 1 save and has 34 strikeouts and 6 walks in 32 innings. The lefty got a no-decision Wednesday in his second start when he threw 7 innings of 1-hit, shutout ball with 5 strikeouts and 1 walk.
Former Maine West star infielder Tyler Ladendorf is with the Athletics' AA affiliate in Midland (Tex.). Ladendorf is hitting .230 with 4 homers, 13 doubles, 20 RBI and 6 steals.
A Rush for Barrington:
Ten Barrington football players will advanced to the championship round of the seventh annual Chicago Rush Tug of Pride competition at halftime of the July 23 game with Milwaukee at Allstate Arena (7 p.m. start).
Seniors Dan Voltz, Joe Asher, Josh Watkins and Evan Lindroth and juniors Mason Darrow, Chris Van Kampen, Akeel Abdelhaldi, August Anderson, Jack Keeler and Ben Calamari competed in May for Barrington. The Tug of Pride champion receives a traveling trophy.
Schaumburg's Anderson honored:
Former Schaumburg all-area pitcher Missy Anderson, who will be a junior at Wisconsin-Platteville, was one of 185 student-athletes who made the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference scholastic honor roll as well as the school's honor roll for having a grade point average above 3.00 during the year.
Anderson is a criminal justice major and is playing for the Fox Valley Renegades and with her college teammates on Monday nights in Madison, Wis.