The Kenwood Academy boys baseball team wins the Chicago Public League title on May 22, 2023.

That sunny Monday afternoon on May 22 was a special day that Kenwood Academy will never forget as their baseball team captured its first Chicago Public League title in school history. The 27 - 4 Broncos went on to defeat Walter Payton College Prep in a tight 2 - 0 victory at Guaranteed Rate Field. 

The game remained scoreless until the sixth inning when Broncos sophomore second baseman Phill "the Thrill" Thigpin and senior catcher Nicholaus Asiyanbi each made a run. The game was over after the top of the seventh inning, after Kenwood successfully kept Payton from making a run in.  

"We just stayed strong," said Broncos head coach Romey Bracey. "It became a battle of who was going to make the least amount of mistakes, and we ended up not making as many mistakes as they did." 

Other key players this game included junior star pitcher Kevari "Lightning" Thunderbird, recording an impressive 12 strikeouts, and sophomore outfielder Jonathan Patterson, who administered two RBIs and two hits.  

In addition to the support of stands of cheering Kenwood parents, students and alumni, after the game the Broncos were congratulated by Mayor Brandon Johnson. 

"I think those boys getting an opportunity to experience that fanbase was excellent," Bracey said. "It was excellent to see (Johnson) there and support the baseball program. We just felt like the city had our back." 

Kenwood isn’t finished yet. Two days after capturing the CPL title, Kenwood began its run at the state tournament. 

On May 24, Kenwood beat Proviso West High School in the IHSA Class 4A regional semifinal match-up, with a final score of 5-3. The Broncos, who are now on an eight-game winning streak, will advance to face either Reavis or Oak Park and River Forest High School in the regional championship game on Saturday. 

Bracey said he hopes the team regains its focus by then, so as not to relive last year’s regional title game loss to Mount Carmel High School, with a score of 11-8. 

"We didn't play well yesterday at all," said Bracey. "The layover after winning the city championship for the first time in the history of Kenwood, I knew it was going to be hard to get those guys to come up with that type of focus. We went to the city hall yesterday morning and we were acknowledged. I was just happy to squeak out of there with a win. Because I knew we weren't going to be the best version of ourselves." 

"We haven't hit well in the past couple of games, and that's kind of an anomaly," he added. "We're going to focus on those details, look at the video we took yesterday, and just get a little bit of a mental clearance."

The IHSA Class 4A regional championship game will be played on Saturday, May 27 at Cornell Park, 1809 W. 50th St. The game will start at 11 a.m.

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