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 RBIs).
Outlook: The Bobcats have a solid core of seniors coming back and some good juniors, meaning the right people are in the right positions. 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 P/OF.
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, Sr., P/OF/1B.
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.
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 the mound.
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 Gene Cahan
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, 11 RBIs).
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 every position. Kirchler, Lietz, Stephen Roman and David Stern are three-year varsity regulars.
Quote: "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 Suburban)
Key losses: Britt Botterman, Seth Wiltjer, Austin Evenhouse
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 (.369).
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 mature quickly.
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 Teske.
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
Players to watch: David Bhone P/1B, Joe Akai C/P, Matt Daliege P/CF
Outlook: Baseball returns to Luther East for the first time in five years. With a influx of young growing talent, and some speed from the upperclassmen the lineup should be solid with speed and contact this year.
Quote: "This year I'm looking for solid defense and speed. I feel even though we are a young team we should be able to compete and grow this year." — coach Jared Pryszcz
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: 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 Sujka.
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 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 Red)
Key losses: Rodney Marshall (28-30 SB, .521 OBP)
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 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 Red.
Quote: "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 pct.).
Outlook: After graduating a senior-heavy class last year, the Pioneers are a young team with raw talent. Lopez and Jones are two underclassmen who are leaders. This is a team that will be ready for the Class 2A tournament come may if the youth comes around.
Quote: "We should be able to win our division again in the Catholic League is we come around. 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., SS/P.
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.
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 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 ignite 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 Spangler.
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 have talent. 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 McKinney, P/3B.
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 Suburban Red.
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 So.
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." — Pancer
— Compiled by Mike Nieto