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Skills competition opens MCYSA tourney

(Mike Greene –
The Crystal Lake Bulldogs’ Matt Moniea, 11, of Crystal Lake watches the ball fly during the home run challenge during the McHenry County Youth Sports Association skills competition Friday at Lippold Park in Crystal Lake. The competition was held in conjunction with the Summer International Championships, which started Friday and ends Aug. 5 at various fields in the county.

CRYSTAL LAKE – Angel Acevedo knew he was faster than most kids going around a baseball diamond. On Friday, he got a chance to prove it.

Acevedo took 13.8 seconds to round the bases, taking second place in the 11U Road Runner skills competition on the opening day of the McHenry County Youth Sports Association’s Summer International Championships at Lippold Park.

“It was fun,” said Acevedo, who will be a sixth-grader at Marlowe Middle School. “I was a little nervous. I was just thinking: take deep breaths and focus.”

Acevedo has some good genes when it comes to the baseball diamond. He is the son of former MLB relief pitcher Juan Acevedo, who graduated from Dundee-Crown. Juan played eight years in the major leagues, including stints with the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals.

The Road Runner event was one of four skills competitions put on by the MCYSA. Select players from the tournament’s 15U and 11U teams also competed in a home run derby, the “Top Cannon” event testing their accuracy on throws from the outfield, and an “Around the Horn” competition in which teams were timed throwing the ball to each base in succession.

Ryan Grannemann of the Crystal Lake Cardinals took third in the 15U home run derby. It was only the second time he ever had participated in a home run-hitting contest.

“It was pretty fun hitting in front of my friends,” said Grannemann, who will be a sophomore at McHenry West. “During the last two rounds there was a lot of pressure.”

Other local top finishers included 15U Lake in the Hills Thunder’s D.J. Cruz, who took second place in Top Cannon, and Ryan Sargent, who finished second in Road Runner.

Angel Acevedo’s teammate, Zack Golden, was second in the 11U Top Cannon while Kyle Lang of the Crystal Lake Bulldogs took second.

In the 11U Home Run Derby, Matt Moniea of the Crystal Lake Bulldogs was second while Crystal Lake Slam teammates Trevor Keegan and Alex Timmerman finished in a tie for third place.

The finals of the Around the Horn skills competition will be completed Wednesday night at Lippold Park.

“It’s a great experience for all of them at 11U having this be so close to home,” said Scott Model, coach of the 11U Lake in the Hills Thunder. “The kids are loving it, loving the experience. Hopefully we’ll be able to take that into the tournament, as well.”


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