In two games at the 53rd Annual Roy A. Overholt Invitational Tournament, Brookfield shortstop/pitcher Wylder Guido has hit three home runs and struck out 18 in eight innings.
His dominant performance has powered the RedHawks into the championship game (7 p.m., Aug. 12 at Kiwanis Park) against the winner of South Cicero vs. LaGrange. Due to the tourney’s double-elimination format, if unbeaten Brookfield loses Wednesday, a rematch/final game will take place against its opponent on Thursday, Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. for the title.
In opening round action, Brookfield scored five runs in the first inning en route to a 6-3 win over Riverside. Guido belted a three-run homer to trigger the RedHawks’ auspicious start.
“The [Riverside] game was definitely a good one,” Brookfield head coach Jamey Guido said. “We got a quick jump on them and built off that lead. Riverside is a good team and was missing some players. Their pitcher Jeremy Fox did a nice job against us.”
As for Wylder Guido, he turned in quite an encore in the semifinals with a two-run homer and grand slam as Brookfield overwhelmed LaGrange 13-1.While he has clearly led the way, several others have contributed to the team’s success, which includes a 16-5 overall record this summer.
“I think everybody is doing really well and we play together,” Wylder Guido said. “I know everybody is going to come ready to play in the championship game. Win or lose [the championship game], it’s been a great experience playing in the Overholt tournament.”
Leadoff man Ryan Vileta and No. 2 hitter Luke Garvey are the catalysts for Brookfield.
“Ryan knows how to get on base and he’s one of our best bunters,” Jamey Guido said. “Luke is another very solid player for us. A long line of his family members have played in the Overholt so there’s a true appreciation for the tournament.”
Jonny Turgeon and Mason Patil have hit well in the middle of the order.
“It’s an absolute honor to play at Overholt,” Turgeon said. “As a player, you know it’s the best against the best. We’ve put in a lot of practice to get the little things right.”
Jaylen Gonzalez, Max Didio, Jake Sickle, Nico Guerrero, Bob Greenlees and Damian Carroll round out the RedHawks’ deep lineup. Cole Turgeon, Michael Garvey and Tim Vileta are the assistant coaches.
“Jaylen and Max are younger players who have really come up huge for us,” Jamey Guido said. “They are both good hitters and great defensively at first base which allows me to keep Wylder at shortstop.
“Our production at the bottom end of the order has been very good. Those kids have gotten big hits, drove in runs and made some key plays for us.”
On the mound, Didio and Garvey pitched well in relief against Riverside.
“I wanted to take Wylder out [after three innings] so we could use him in the next game,” Jamey Guido said. “Max and Luke came in and did a great job.”
Along their winning way, the Brookfield players and coaches have enjoyed the unique experience of playing in the Overholt tourney.
“I’ve heard about this tournament as long as I’ve been here [in Brookfield],” Jamey Guido said. “I’ve been coaching in Brookfield for five years and we’ve been to a couple of championship games in our house league, but we never sealed the deal until this year. The fact we have been able to move on to play at Overholt and dominate to this point is pretty cool.”
Cole Turgeon added: “It’s truly an amazing tournament with a great atmosphere. The people who make this happen put so much time and effort into the tournament.”
While Wednesday’s championship game will be the focus for players, coaches and fans alike, the memory of tournament founder Roy A. Overholt remains alive and well.
Born in the Hollywood section of Brookfield in 1924, Overholt started the tournament in 1964 when he asked championship teams from area Little League organizations to participate in the tournament pitting top teams from multiple west suburban towns against each other.
Often referred to as the World Series of District 9, the Overholt tournament at the field bearing Overholt’s name in Kiwanis Park quickly emerged as a premier Little League baseball late summer event.
The invite-only format featuring Major Division championship teams from District 9 Little League coupled with pennant flags adorning the outfield fence, pristine field conditions, big crowds, ample concessions and longtime announcer Tony Carey calling the action has provided indelible memories for countless players (primarily ages 11 and 12) through the years.
“There’s definitely an awareness of Mr. Overholt and what he means to this tournament,” Jamey Guido said. “Mrs. Overholt [Audrey Overholt, Roy’s wife] has been coming to every game. She signed one of our team’s home run balls which I thought was a pretty cool thing to do.”