Scouting Local Baseball Teams
Key losses: Josh Harris, Chuck Karl, Tim
Schlaudraff, Tyler Cloutier
Players to watch: Jake Krabbe, Sr., IF/OF
(.294, 3 2B, 13 RBIs); Justice DeRouin, Sr., IF/P (.265, 11 R);
Zach Aring, Jr., P/IF; Michael Takacs, Jr., P/C; Michael
Pignatiello, Jr., IF; Brandon Wilson, Sr., C/P/IF (.280, 14 H, 6
Outlook: The Bobcats have a solid core of
seniors coming back who all contributed last season. There are some
good juniors and it is a matter of the right people in the right
position. One thing that they have to come with is a good pitching
staff after graduating Harris and Karl.
Quote: "We have to fill the gaps left by Harris
and Karl on the mound. We've got the guys who can do it, they just
have to step up and play." ~! coach Brandon DuBois
BLOOM TWP. (7-21)
Key losses: Nick Egan, Justin Hernandez
Players to watch: Brian Hankey, Sr., P/3B
(.275); Jonathon Banuelos, Jr., SS( .333); Renato Perez, Sr., P/1B
(.243); Kyle Hammock, Sr., C; Caleb Coulom, Jr., P; Tieler Neuman,
Outlook: Hankey, Perez and Banuelos are all
three-year starters. Hankey is the ace of the staff and with Perez
and Coulom, the Blazing Trojans' arms could put them in the hunt
for the Southland title. Coach Job Gunderson got a late start as he
is an assistant boys basketball coach and the team went
Quote: "Johnathon Banuelos is a 'ballplayer.'
His approach at the plate and his actions in the infield make him a
pleasure to watch. He will go down as one of the best to play at
Bloom Township. ~! Gunderson
CRETE-MONEE (16-14, 9-6 SAC)
Key losses: Tirone Rogers, Mike Jamison.
Players to watch: John McLaughlin , Sr., C
(.444, 40 H, 28 RBIs); Mike Wojtanowski, Sr., 3B (.450, 36 H, 27
RBIs); Jake Kadich, Sr., SS/2B (.338, 25 R); Craig Quick, Jr., P
(333, 40 SO, 44 IP); Zack Silerzio, Sr., OF/P (.316); Chris Cockle,
Jr., P (4-0, .058 ERA).
Outlook: The Warriors have a strong nucleus
with seven position players returning. McLaughlin and Wojtanowski
are three-year regulars, while Cockle and Quick should be solid on
Quote: "If we become a solid defensive ball
club, (we are not there yet) with our depth in pitching we will be
a team capable of going deep into the state playoffs." ~! coach
HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR (19-12, 5-9 SWSC Blue)
Key losses: Nico Kelly, Ryan Rasmas, Sean
Dwyer, David Fatoki.
Players to watch: Dan Lietz, Sr., LHP/OF, (7-2,
2.16 ERA, 48 IP, 65 K, BA .313, 3 HR, 25 RBIs); Ben Kirchler, Sr.,
SS/2B (.375, 5 HR, 31 RBIs, 13 SB); Michael Hurley, Sr., IF (.370,
Outlook: H-F should be able to contend in the
tough SWSC Blue. This is a senior-dominated team with 16 seniors
and could start a senior at evey position. Kirchler, Lietz, Stephen
Roman and David Stern are three-year varsity regulars.
Quote: "We are very excited about the 2012
Vikings. In my 10 years as head coach I have never had a more
senior-dominated team." ~! Coach Todd Sippel
ILLIANA CHRISTIAN (21-12, 16-2 Metro
Key losses: Britt Botterman, Seth Wiltjer,
Players to watch: Braden Mulder,Sr., P (5-2,
1.95 ERA, 56 SO); Tyler Smit, Sr., (.400 3 HR, 25 RBIs); Aaron
Gibson , Sr., C/3B (.367, 23 RBIs); Tyler Sroczynski, Jr., OF
Outlook: The Vikings were Metro Suburban
Conference champs and have a good nucleus to repeat. Illiana
returns eight varsity starters with six of them being every day
players. Mulder leads an untested group of pitchers that must
Quote: "I look for this year's team to play
good defense and score runs. As always our fate depends on our
pitching." ~! coach Dan Gibson
ILLINOIS LUTHERAN (14-7, 8-2)
Key losses: Zach Sager, Nick Durand, Evan
Players to watch: Zach Kotecki, Sr., 2B; Sam
Geraci, So., SS; Jake Kendrick, Jr., P; Colton Moore, Jr., P; Mack
Newson, So., C; Dylan Kish, Sr., 3B.
Outlook: The Chargers lost six seniors from a
team which shared the RVC title. There is talent again, but someone
needs to step up and fill the leadership role. The pitching staff
is deep and the Chargers can hit.
Quote: "We expect this team to be able to carry
on the tradition that our recent players worked very hard to
establish." ~! coach Mark Kjenstad
MARIAN CATHOLIC (18-18, 6-10)
Players to watch: Brett Lilek, Sr.,P/OF/1B
(2.75 ERA, 73 SO, 40 IP); Robby Nunn, Sr., P (3.02 ERA, 49 SO, 11
BB, 58 IP); Rob Cifelli, Sr., CF (.359, 28 SB, 33 BB); Devin
Pickett, Sr., IF (3 HR, 18 RBIs); Erik Callaghan, Jr.,SS/P.
Outlook: The Spartans have three Division I
players in Lilek (Arizona State), Nunn (Western Illinois) and
Pickett (Iowa) and are coming off a third-place finish in the Phil
Lawler summer state tourney. Marian has deep pitching, led by Lilek
and Nunn. It also has speed and the key will be great team
chemistry. This could be one of the program's best teams.
Quote: "The Spartans are loaded with talent and
if they can stay mentally tough and focus on throwing strikes,
having quality at-bats, playing sold defense, and taking extra
bases it should be a fun season." ~! coach Phil Wail
MOUNT CARMEL (32-9, fourth in Class 4A)
Key losses: Jeff Boehm, John Kravetz, Chris
Players to watch: T.J. Lauirsch, Sr., P/3B
(.396, 4 HR, 33 RBIs, 7-3, 2.91 ERA, 63 SO, 67 1/3 IP); Sam Kint,
Sr., 1B (.430, 12 HR, 55 RBIs); Frank Kelly, Sr., P/OF (.212, 4-1,
25 SO, 1.79 ERA); Jason Gasser, Jr., OF/P (.272, 7 2B, 19 RBIs);
Dan Pappas, Sr., C (.175, 10 RBIs); Beau Filkins, Jr., P/IF (.324,
22 H, 22 RBIs,); Tom Hayes, Sr., C/1B (.342, 38 H, 4 HR, 33 RBIs);
Josh Gaal, Sr., 3B (.526, 9 H, 19 AB, 5 RBIs).
Outlook: The Caravan lost Times Player of the
Year Kravetz (Illinois) and his 11 wins, plus Boehm (Kentucky) and
Sukka (Indiana) from a team which finished fourth in Class 4A, but
return seven position player who have a lot of experience. Mount
Carmel will still play good defense and rely on good pitching with
Laurich being the ace of the staff. Kint brings power and can hit
for average, which is important with the new BBCOR bats. Houston is
a three-year starter and solidifies the infield, while Pappas is
solid behind the plate.
Quote: "The new bbcor bats have changed the
game to a much greater emphasis on throwing strikes and playing
defense." ~! coach Brian Hurry
SETON ACADEMY (8-18, 4-5 Catholic League
Key losses: Rodney Marshall (28-30 SB, .521
Players to watch: Curtis Cross, Sr., IF/OF
(.364, 19 SB in 21 attempts, 28 H, 24 R); Eron Evans, So., SS (14
SB in 15 attempts, 4 2B); Devin Howard, So., C (.328, 17 RBIs);
Nick Tanniehill, Jr., 2B (.319, 22 H); William Thomas, Jr., CF
(.302, 6 2B, 14 SB, 14 RBIs).
Outlook: Seton is still very young, but the six
returners and has some speed in Cross, Evans and Thomas as they
were a combined 47-for-51 in stolen base attempts. If Seton gets
some pitching, it should be competitive in the Catholic League
Quote: "Prayerfully, everyone stays healthy due
to limited numbers. We are focusing on ‘attention to detail' and
handling individual roles to the best of our ability for the sake
of team unity." ~! coach James Thornton
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES (14-13)
Key losses: Shane Burmistrz, Zac McIntyre,
Ruben Cruz, Nicholas Diaz.
Players to watch: Colton Lopez, So., 1B/P (.422
BA, 14 RBI, 18 1/3, IP 31 SO); Wesley Jones, Jr., 3B/P (1.62 ERA,
.176 OPP BA, 22 SO); Kemari Simmons, So., C/INF (.417 BA, 16 RBI, 6
SB); Matthew Morales, So., SS (.250 OB pct., 4 R, 3 SB); Ade
Olaniyan, So., OF (.250 OB pct.). Kenny Catron, So., CF (.300 OB
Outlook: After graduating a senior heavy class
last year, the Pioneers are a oyung team with raw talent. Lopez and
Jones are two undercalssmen who are leaders. This is a team that
will be ready for the Class 2A tournament come may if the youth
Quote: "We should be able to win our division
again in the Catholic League is we come arounf. The kids can play."
~! coach Tony Burmistrz
Players to watch: Stephon Davis, P/C; Joe
Tucker, SS/P; Dartanian Giles, Sr., C; Quentin Kennedy, Sr., P/1B;
Rashwan Morris, Fr., C/IF; Kyle Phillips, Jr., OF.
Outlook: Davis and Tucker are the lone returning starters and
there are only 11 players on the team. It could be a rough year
unless some of the younger players come around.
Players to watch: Jason Towns, Jr., SS/P; Jamal
Towns, Jr., OF; Taje Frazier, Jr., C/OF; Jamel Frazier, Sr.,
Outlook: Jason Towns and Jamel Frazier are good
pitchers, but the Wildcats are young with five juniors, three
sophomores and a senior in the lineup.
Outlook: We're still young and looking to
improve, but the players are coming of age with the main starters
being 1 senior, 5 juniors, and 3 sophomores.
Quote: "We need to keep focusing on the
fundamentals while utilizing our athleticism, and we'll get better.
We'll see if the players can take the next step, but the SouthWest
Suburban Conference is really tough." ~! coach Nick Tarala
T.F. NORTH (14-23, 3-16 SSC Blue)
Players to watch: Mikyl Fleming, Sr., OF (.402,
14 RBIs, 13 SB); Zachary Turner, So., P/C/IF (.366, 10 2B, 20
RBIs); Sergio Esquivia, Sr., P/C/OF (.165, 14 RBIs); Jose Mendoza,
Sr., P/C/OF (.283, 9 2B, 3 HR, 19 RBIs); Francisco Galvan, Sr.,
P/IF (.315, 11 2B, 25 RBIs, 3-3).
Outlook: The Meteors have five regulars who are
in their third year of varsity ball. Menodoz, Esquivia and Galvan
are expected to carry the pitching load. Tuenr and Mke Szablewski
are expected to fill out the rotation. Fleming was all-South
Suburban Blue and he, Galvan and Turner should ignte the offense.
If T.F. North stays healthy and players perform to their
expectations, it could be a successful season.
Quote: "We have put a lot of stock in our
players that have worked hard during the off season. We bring over
200 innings of varsity pitching experience for the 2012 season. We
must execute our offensive game and minimize our errors in the
field. Pitching is going to be key with this season. Old time
baseball is back. ~! coach Mike Kosiara.
T.F. SOUTH (16-15)
Key losses: Kevin Hallberg, Tyler Sindewald,
Cody Krilich, Alex Oberman, Ben Berridge, Tim Reid, Anthony
Players to watch: Kyle Janowski, Sr., 3B/SS/P;
Brian Seymour, So., SS/P; Dominic Sciackitano, C/P; Mike Broadwell,
P; Peyton Padjen, Jr., DH/2B.
Outlook: The Rebels lost a lot and will be
young, but has talent. It may take a bit for it to jel, but the
players know the tradition of T.F. South baseball. A tough schedule
will be a challenge, but it will make them stronger.
Quote: "This team has really worked hard in the
offseason and can produce wins by outworking teams. We will take
our lumps, but when we adjust to the speed of the game and put the
game together we can really take off." ~! coach Matt Tiffy
THORNWOOD (6-19, 3-11 SWSC Red)
Key losses: Bryant Moore, P/OF; Justin
Players to watch: Robert Blissitt, Jr., SS/P (.291, 12 SB, 20
R); Maceo Taylor, Sr., P/OF (.239, 1 HR, 8 RBIs); Michael Beyers,
Sr., P/OF (.305, 1 HR, 6 RBIs).
Outlook: The Thunderbirds lost their three top
pitchers, so developing a pitching staff will be a key. Blissitt,
Taylor and Beyers are talented and will be counted on to deliver.
Pitching and defense will be the key in the tough SouthWest
Quote: "If we can't perform in practice, we
will not perform in a game." ~! coach Rob Young.
WASHINGTON (24-9, 14-0)
Key losses: David Swiatek P Javier Reyes P Ryne
Woods 1B Everado Rodriguez 2b
Players to watch: Jesse Lopez Jr. P/INF; Adrian
Luna Jr. P/INF; John Perez Sr. C/INF; Augastin Guerrero P/INF
Outlook: The Patriots will rely on good
pitching and defense as they move to the Ernie Banks Division.
Lopez, Luna and Guerrero are a good mound trio. Last year's team
lost to Chicago University High in a Class 3A regional
championship. Coach Joe Pancer is 93-31 in four years and baseball
is doing well on the East Side.
Quote: "I keep hearing from around the league
next year 'you guys are going to be loaded'. Next year? Our year is
this year! This year's team knows how to play together as a team,
and win as a team. The players' mental approach at every practice
has the coaching staff filled with high expectations." ~!
~! Compiled by Mike Nieto