|YOUR COMMUNITY CONNECTION
Proviso players take part in NW Suburban
By MIKE SANDROLINI
LINCOLNSHIRE — Proviso East’s Reuben Esquivel called it “a great opportunity.” Proviso West’
s Taivion Williams couldn’t agree more.
The great opportunity to which both varsity baseball players referred was taking part in the
annual Northwest Suburban Baseball Tournament. It’s a two-day event in which all-star teams
from eight different suburban conferences showcased next year’s best seniors.
Esquivel and Williams represented the Pirates and Panthers on the West Suburban
Conference team. Other participating conferences included the DuPage Valley, East Suburban
Catholic, Central Suburban, Fox Valley, North Suburban, Upstate Eight and Mid Suburban.
The District 209 duo was joined on the West Suburban squad by Proviso East coach Glenn Lid,
who has been involved with the Northwest Suburban tourney for the past 13 years and was
asked to be a coach for the first time this year. “It’s always a privilege,” Lid said. “I’ve had a kid
represent our team every year, and most of the kids that play in this (tournament) go on to play
in college, without question. It’s an incredible opportunity.”
Each team played two games in the round-robin format—one on Friday and one on Saturday.
Prior to Friday’s games, team members were timed in the 60-yard dash. Coaches and scouts
from various colleges and universities throughout the Midwest also were on hand both days.
Williams said he was timed at seven seconds flat in the 60. “It’s very eye-opening to see how
many good players there are in Illinois,” he said, “and see how you match up and compete
against them. I just love baseball and I’m glad to be here.” Williams, an outfielder for the
Panthers in 2011 (8-27 record), is confident Proviso West can be a better team in 2012. He also
could do some pitching for West next spring. “We have a lot of guys coming up that have a lot of
potential,” he said. “Our seniors have been in the weight room already this off-season. We have
the potential to do way better than last year.”
Getting better during the off-season includes playing plenty of games over the summer. In
addition to competing in the Northwest Suburban tourney, Williams is playing for his Proviso
West summer league team, and for a district travel team based out of Burbank and West Lawn.
“It’s the only way to get better,” he said.
Esquivel also is playing on two summer league teams: the Lyons travel team and the Cubs RBI
team. The latter team is funded by the Chicago Cubs. Esquivel and Williams were playing
together in the outfield at one point (center and left field, respectively) during Friday’s game — a
victory by the West Suburban Conference over DuPage Valley. On Saturday, the West Suburban
Conference — which produced five regional championship teams and one that won the state
4A championship, Lyons Township — faced the North Suburban Conference. Esquivel tripled
off the fence in the game, scored a run and made a catch in right field.
“It’s a great opportunity and I’m happy to be here to show my talents and see what I can do,”
Esquivel said. “Everything is done in real good order,” Lid said. “They’ve got the 60-yard dash.
They’ve got the kids stretching before they run. There’s an arm strength test, and they have it
organized for the infielders (who go through timed pre-game warmups). So they’re covering all
Esquivel, who’s been on varsity since his freshman year, was Proviso East’s team MVP and an
all-conference player in 2011. “He played shortstop; he played center field. He’s a really good
center fielder,” Lid said. “He has good arm strength. He can develop into a good pitcher. We’ve
got to work on his control and his curve ball. He’s got a real good natural swing, and I’m real
confident he’s going to play at the college level.”
Like Williams, Esquivel believes his team will be improved next spring. The Pirates are coming
off a 5-29 season. “We’ve got a bunch of younger kids coming up and they’re good ballplayers,”
he said. “We’ve just got to work on our defense. I’m doing a bit better than I was freshman year,
so I know how it is for the young kids playing with us. Hopefully they can help us out a lot on