Darryl Loyd III has been on some talented baseball teams during his four-year varsity career at Morgan Park High School (MPHS).
During Loyd’s freshman year, the Mustangs advanced to the semifinals of the Chicago Public League (CPL) tournament and the quarterfinals in his sophomore year.
Then, the pandemic wiped away the 2020 spring season.
However, the 2021 squad has made up for that loss.
MPHS defeated rival Simeon 14-11 on May 29 at Kerry Wood Field to win the CPL championship, its second in program history.
“Those previous teams, we didn’t have the tenacity, that getting hit in the mouth and getting down in a game but not giving up,” Loyd said. “We can do anything together and for each other. It’s our determination as a team.”
The champion Mustangs were honored on June 3 with a parade down Vincennes Avenue featuring a Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Police Department escort followed by a brief program and pep rally at MPHS.
MPHS also won the city championship in 2014.
For Loyd and his teammates, the parade was a huge surprise but a welcome one.
“We found out a couple days ago about the parade. I was like ‘OK,’” Loyd said “I said to my mom, ‘You’re joking! We’re not having a parade!’ It’s pretty nice though, especially coming off last year and the coronavirus. It was a big challenge to excel this year, so it really is a blessing.”
Loyd hit a 3-run home run in the championship game.
MPHS defeated Jones on May 26 in the semifinals.
The city championship game started on May 28 but was delayed until May 29 because of rain. MPHS led 11-6 in the fourth inning when the game was postponed.
“We were ready to get back out there and finish the game,” said MPHS senior infielder/pitcher Asa Waites. “We wanted to finish it [the previous night]. The intensity level was high for sure because that’s our rival. We just wanted to win that game, whoever we played against. It was a lot of fun.”
Waites, a three-year varsity player, will continue his academic-athletic career at Clark Atlanta University.
Looking back on his Class of 2020 teammates who didn’t get a chance to compete in the city or state tournament, Waites was glad the Mustangs could deliver.
“To finally be back, because I missed my junior year, to play and make up for it and win a city championship, this was special,” Waites said. “Especially for those kids who didn’t have a chance last year. It feels good to know that all the hard work paid off these last couple days and months. It’s been fun.”
MPHS opened the Class 3A state playoffs on June 4 with a 13-2 victory over Washington in a regional semifinal. The Mustangs hosted Bremen on June 7, after press time, in the regional championship.
The parade on June 3 started at 95th Street and Vincennes Avenue, heading south on Vincennes back to MPHS.
The program at the school honoring the team featured guest speakers MPHS Athletic Director Ebony Jones, Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson, CPL Deputy Executive Director of Sports Mickey Pruitt, MPHS Coach Ernest Radcliffe and MPHS President Femi Skanes.
From the team, seniors Loyd, Omar Albert, and Jatonne Sterling Jr. and junior Jacoby Radcliffe also spoke at the pep rally.