Preps Talk

'Super Joe does it again'


'Super Joe does it again'

"Super Joe does it again."

That's how Cubs manager Dale Sveum described Joe Mather's pinch-hit home run in Friday's win over the Dodgers.

And you know what? It's a nickname that might as well stick.

Mather got an invite to Cubs spring camp as a 29-year-old journeyman utility player who had never really stuck in the Majors. He had an outside chance of making the roster initially, but a stellar spring made Mather the logical choice for the final bench spot.

All he's done with the opportunity is post a 1.11 OPS and .346 AVG.

Mather, who can play all three outfield spots as well as first and third base, hit the first home run from a Cubs outfielder on the season April 29 in Philadelphia and followed that up with a pinch-hit opposite-field home run Friday against the Dodgers. His solo shot proved to be the difference in a 5-4 ballgame.

That wasn't the only time Mather has used his bat to help the Cubs pick up a win. On April 23 against the Cardinals, Mather came through with a two-out, two-run single to give the Cubs a walk-off victory over their biggest rivals and the reigning World Series champions.

Mather has endeared himself to his teammates and coaches in the past three months and while he won't maintain this offensive pace, he should still be a very valuable bench player for the Cubs as the season wears on.

Mather doesn't do anything particularly good, but he's a very fundamentally sound player that can provide some pop and grinds out each at-bat. He came up in the Cardinals' system, where they put a premium on fundamentals and discipline at the plate.

If he keeps coming through with clutch hits, it may not be long until the bleacher bums at Wrigley start holding up signs for "Super Joe" to hit it to them.

High School Lites Football Semifinals Roundup

High School Lites Football Semifinals Roundup

High School Lites has plenty of great IHSA football playoff action from the semifinals on Saturday as NBC Sports Chicago has highlights of many of the area's top matchups. 

Be sure to also follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights. 

DRIVE: Prairie RidgeEpisode 14

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Raby's Dq Smith McAllister

St. Xavier Team of the Week: Marist girls volleyball

This Week's Scores

Class 8A

Loyola Academy 17, Edwardsville 10

Lincoln-Way East 24, Maine South 14

Class 7A

Lake Zurich 14, Mount Carmel 7

Batavia 23, Benet Academy 13

Class 6A

Prairie Ridge 42, Hoffman Estates 21

Nazareth Academy 24, Providence Catholic 7

Class 5A

Phillips 27, Sterling 14

Dunlap 21, Washington 0

Class 4A

Morris 43, Raby 8

Rochester 31, Highland 14

Class 3A

IC Catholic 7, Byron 0

Pleasant Plains 41, Anna-Jonesboro 2

Class 2A

Gibson City 14, Newman Central Catholic 8

Maroa-Forsyth 25, Shelbyville 14

Class 1A

Tuscola 21, Athens 14

Lena-Winslow 12, Forreston 8


NBCSPreps Boys Basketball Preseason Power Rankings

NBCSPreps Boys Basketball Preseason Power Rankings

The 2017-18 IHSA boys basketball season has a lot of talented teams in the Chicagoland area. See who made the preseason top 25, headlined by five Public League powerhouses.

No. 1 Morgan Park

No. 2 Whitney Young

No. 3 Simeon

No. 4 Orr

No. 5 Curie

No. 6 Fenwick

No. 7 Bolingbrook

No. 8 Waukegan

No. 9 Niles North

No. 10 Uplift

No. 11 Romeoville

No. 12 Hinsdale South

No. 13 West Aurora

No. 14 Larkin

No. 15 St. Rita

No. 16 OPRF

No. 17 St. Charles East

No. 18 Kenwood

No. 19 Willowbrook

No. 20 Bloom

No. 21 Evanston

No. 22 Lake Zurich

No. 23 Proviso East

No. 24 Lincoln-Way East

No. 25 Libertyville