Simeon ace Jamary McKinney digs deep, leads Wolverines to city title

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Simeon senior Jamary McKinney wasn’t ready to give the ball up when Wolverines coach Leroy Franklin came to the mound in the sixth inning of the city title game Saturday at UIC’s Curtis Granderson Stadium.

It didn’t matter that he’d already thrown 115 pitches, his career high. Or that he had a prom date in a few hours.

“I was just frustrated that I couldn’t finish out the game,” said McKinney. “I definitely didn’t want to come out, I didn’t care how many pitches it took. But I’m glad my teammate picked me up and we took it home.”

Jalin McMillan, an Illinois recruit, pitched the final 1 2/3 innings as Simeon won its ninth city title with a 3-2 win over Lake View.

“I just went out there with the mindset that I was going to dominate and that’s what I did,” said McKinney, a Chicago State recruit.

The Wildcats (16-16) came within inches of tying the game in the sixth inning. Lake View first baseman Sam Wusu was thrown out trying to score on a wild pitch with two out and Simeon leading 3-2.

Simeon catcher Jordon Rogers corralled the loose ball and threw to McMillan, who applied the tag to keep the Wolverines (26-3) in the lead.

“After it squirted away I knew I had to get it quick,” said Rogers. “I busted my tail to get there and it was a bang bang play, pretty close.”

McMillan didn’t allow a hit and struck out three of the six batters he faced. He also closed out Simeon’s semifinal win over rival Morgan Park.

McKinney allowed two runs, six hits and four walks in his 5 and 1/3 innings. He struck out seven.

“That was just a tremendous effort,” said Franklin. “He’s a horse, he won the game for us.”

The Wolverines scored all three of their runs in the third inning. Reginald Brock led off the inning with a single, was sacrificed to second and scored on a single by Raphee Gross. McMillan knocked Gross in with a single and then Dion Earls Jr. scored on McKinney’s grounder to short.

It was the only inning in which Lake View starter Joey Lara allowed more than one hit. He scattered six hits and one walk in six innings of work, striking out three.

Franklin has led Simeon to 17 city title games in his 34 years as coach. This was Lake View’s second appearance in the title game, they have one city championship.

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