On Sunday, Fenwick baseball coach Dave Hogan joined elite company — the 700 club. The Friars rallied for a dramatic 9-7 win in eight innings over host Loyola, giving Hogan his 700th career win and making him only the 13th high school baseball coach in state history to reach that lofty mark. Legendary Oak Park and River Forest High School baseball coach Jack Kaiser is second on the all-time wins list with 892 victories.
"In order to reach 700, you need two things," Hogan said after the Friars' historic showing Sunday. "You need to be around one place for a long time, and you need to have good players. I love coaching at Fenwick and I have been fortunate to coach many excellent athletes."
Over 33 years, Hogan has compiled a 700-367 record (and counting), 11 Catholic League championships, 11 regional titles, four sectional crowns and a second place finish in the 2007 summer state tournament. Inducted into the IHSA baseball Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Chicago Catholic League Hall of Fame in 2008, Hogan has coached 21 all-state players, 16 professional signees and hundreds of players who have extended their baseball careers at the collegiate level.
Off the field, Hogan has also done pretty well for himself, married to his wife Nancy for 36 years and the proud father of Eric and Amy.
"[Former Fenwick Athletic Director] Dan O'Brien always used to say, 'If you're going to play in the sandbox, you need to have some good toys'," Hogan recalled with a laugh. "We've had some really good players and coaches [at Fenwick] through the years. It's been a pretty good sandbox for me."
Coming from behind
Perhaps what makes 700 even more special for Hogan is how his players came through to earn the victory.
Trailing Loyola 5-0, the Friars scored three runs in the third, and one run in both the sixth and seventh frames before delivering the knockout blow to the highly-regarded Ramblers with a four-run explosion in the eighth.
"It's been tough this spring with the weather and we've been a bit snakebit against some of the top Catholic League teams," Hogan said. "The way we battled back to beat one of the Catholic League's big boys is memorable. Plus, we just needed a win."
After a 1-5 start, the Friars (4-5, 3-2 Chicago Catholic League) are on a three-game winning streak.
"We went 1-3 on our annual Disney trip and [then] lost to Mount Carmel and St. Laurence," Hogan said. "We've played only one home game this spring, with 14 other home games cancelled. I've been like a caged tiger wanting to get games in, but I always knew we were better than a 1-5 team."
Against Loyola, Kyle Pullia (2-2) earned the complete game win scattering eight hits and striking out nine.
"Kyle kept his composure and battled well," Hogan said. "He mowed 'em down in the eighth."
Kevin Claffy (4-for-5, three RBI, two doubles) led the way offensively with Vince Napolitano, Brian Keegan and Zach Laszkiewicz chipping in two hits apiece. Key knocks included Kristian Meyer's two-RBI triple in the third and Claffy's clutch double in the seventh which knotted the game at 5-all.