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SBA honors 2013 HOF class

PERU — St. Bede continued homecoming week festivities honoring its 2013 Hall of Fame class Saturday morning.

The inductees included alumni Thomas Heitman, Leroy Herrmann, Brad Koster, Chris Lushina, Paul Perona, James Piletic and Tom Vallero. Also honored as a friend of St. Bede, was newly retired WLPO Sports Director Lanny Slevin.

Heitman, Herrmann and Piletic were all three honored posthumously.

As a member of the 1988 class, Koster was a three-time MVP pitcher for the Bruins and a member of the ’88 state baseball championship team.

“You don’t realize looking back how difficult it is to get to that state championship game,” said Koster, who thanked his parents for giving him the opportunity to come to St. Bede for the academics and to play sports.

When he got the call over the summer, ’91 graduate Lushina said he had time to reflect on being a Bruin.

“It really comes down to the entire experience,” he said. He recalled playing against LaSalle-Peru saying that even though LaSalle-Peru may have been the more athletic team, “We were St. Bede, and that’s what beat them.”

Heitman was a member of the class of 2002 and a two-sport athlete for four years with the Bruins. He was killed on Sept. 19, 2011 in a helicopter accident during training exercises with the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton.

Herrmann attended St. Bede College and played professional baseball for the Cubs, Reds, and in the Pacific coast and international leagues from circa 1927-38.

Piletic was a member of the 1952 class and a four-sport athlete at St. Bede.

Perona was a three-sport athlete and graduated with the ’81 class amassing six varsity letters.

Vallero, a 1963 graduate, was honored with the Ennio Arboit trophy as Athlete of the Year for 1962-63.

Slevin is a graduate emeritus and received HOF honors for his many years as an announcer calling Bruin basketball games for WLPO. He was also recognized at halftime of the Homecoming football game as a 2013 recipient of the new IHSA Distinguished Media Award winner.

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