Glenbrook shortstops reunite at Showcase

SHARE Glenbrook shortstops reunite at Showcase

Seniors Luke Harrison of Glenbrook South (left) and Boomer Synek of Glenbrook North split time for the Central Suburban League team in the Stevenson Showcase Friday and Saturday. (George M. Wilcox/ Staff Writer)

The last time Luke Harrison and Boomer Synek appeared at shortstop together was in the eighth grade.

“He grew up,” the 5-foot-9, 150-pound Synek said of the 6-3, 190-pound Harrison.

Synek might be small, but swings aggressively at the plate, usually as a No. 2 or No. 3 hitter. Harrison also displays power at the plate, but given his size, he might be projected as a third baseman if he decides to play baseball in college.

Harrison and Synek played shortstop on opposite sides of the field in eighth grade when the senior duo played for separate travel teams — Harrison with the Niles Bandits and Synek with the Highwood Braves. The two teams played against each other several times, Harrison recalled. Synek’s coach and father, Rich, was good friends with the

Niles coach.

Harrison and Synek were on opposite sides of the field again when Synek’s Glenbrook North team defeated Harrison’s Glenbrook South team 10-8 in a CSL crossover May 6.

But Synek was at his usual shortstop position and Harrison was at designated hitter. Harrison did not play in the infield for GBS in the spring since the Titans fielded a pair of Division I recruits on the left side of the diamond with shortstop Cody Stevens (Northwestern) and third baseman Pat Guinane (Butler).

For the first time since those eighth grade travel games, Harrison and Synek shared the shortstop position again Friday and Saturday at the Northwest Baseball Tournament, more commonly known as the Stevenson Showcase in the Lincolnshire.

Before dozens of college recruiters and several major-league scouts, Harrison and Synek split time at shortstop for the CSL’s 8-7 win over the Upstate Eight Conference Friday and in a 7-4 loss to the West Suburban Conference Saturday.

Among the recruiters watching the CSL-West Suburban game were coaches from Minnesota, Wright State, Indiana State and John A. Logan College in Downstate Carterville.

The CSL led Saturday for much of the game until Evanston pitcher Matt Carmichael allowed six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. At the Stevenson Showcase, games are played through nine complete innings regardless of the score and batters are not allowed to walk. If a batter receives four balls in an at-bat, a pinch runner is

automatically placed at first base and the batter earns a new count.

“I’m playing much better now,” Harrison said. “Playing with each other

(on the CSL team) was a lot of fun.”

All four Glenbrook players at the Stevenson Showcase played Saturday. Harrison and Synek platooned Friday with Synek starting and then Harrison came into the game in the sixth inning. They flip-flopped with Harrison starting Saturday.

“Each of us played nine innings (in two days),” Harrison said.

On Saturday, Harrison went 1-for-2 with an RBI single to center field in the fourth innning. Synek’s first at-bat came in the seventh. He drew a walk, but later struck out in the same at-bat. He led off the ninth innning with a double to right field.

GBN’s Sean Thomas struck out in his only at-bat and pitched a hitless fourth inning.

GBS outfielder Chris Szafranski beat out an infield single to lead off the eighth in his only at-bat. He stole second base, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a one-out single to center field by Maine West’s Connor Skoczynski.

Both Harrison and Szafranski planned on playing in a doubleheader Saturday. The GBS teammates were headed later in the day to play in Glenview American Legion Post 166’s game in the wood-bat Wilmette Waves Invitational in Glenview.

“In this heat, in no time, in can get really hot,” Szafranski said.

The Stevenson Showcase features the top seniors from the Class of 2011 in games between the best eight conferences in the Chicago area. Each player was timed Friday in the 60-yard dash. The event’s fastest player was infielder Chris Godinez of Lake Forest in 6.4 seconds. New Trier outfielder Charlie Tilson was third place overall in 6.6. The

four Glenbrook players were in the middle of the pack led by Thomas (6.9), Harrison (7.0), Synek (7.1) and Szafranski (7.2).

•••

Remembering Lawler

Stevenson Showcase director Harvey Foster honored late Naperville Central assistant coach Phil Lawler with a banner in right field at the Patriots’ main field in Lincolnshire. Lawler died earlier this spring after a long battle with cancer. Lawler was the long-time director for the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association’s summer league tournament, but was unable to see Naperville Central clinch its second state championship earlier this month. (George M. Wilcox/ Staff Writer)

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