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updated: 6/7/2012 10:04 PM

All-Area Baseball/Northwest

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  • Jack Andersen

    Jack Andersen

  • Kurt Becker

    Kurt Becker

  • Pat Bellinger

    Pat Bellinger

  • Jeremy Berger

    Jeremy Berger

  • Ethan Bloom

    Ethan Bloom

  • Matt Brancato

    Matt Brancato

  • Lee Breitzman

    Lee Breitzman

  • Keith Browning

    Keith Browning

  • Thomas Byrne

    Thomas Byrne

  • Brennan Chillemi

    Brennan Chillemi

  • Jack Czeszewski

    Jack Czeszewski

  • Mike Danielak

    Mike Danielak

  • James Duckmann

    James Duckmann

  • Aaron Foley

    Aaron Foley

  • Brad Gerdes

    Brad Gerdes

  • Kevin Grudzinski

    Kevin Grudzinski

  • Cody Gustafson

    Cody Gustafson

  • Trevor Haas

    Trevor Haas

  • Matt Hendricks

    Matt Hendricks

  • James Ioratti

    James Ioratti

  • Gunnar Kay

    Gunnar Kay

  • Jack Landwehr

    Jack Landwehr

  • Ryan Lidge

    Ryan Lidge

  • Chris Myjak

    Chris Myjak

  • Max Paolicchi

    Max Paolicchi

  • Tyler Perkowitz

    Tyler Perkowitz

  • Mark Roberts

    Mark Roberts

  • Mark Roberts

    Mark Roberts

  • Angel Sanchez

    Angel Sanchez

  • Eric Scheuermann

    Eric Scheuermann

  • Frank Waliczek

    Frank Waliczek

  • Nico Witanen

    Nico Witanen

  • Rich Zirngibl

    Rich Zirngibl

By Marty Maciaszek

Jack Andersen Fremd

Jack was a big reason Fremd got back to the Mid-Suburban League title game for the third time in four years. The senior righty was 8-3 with a 1.98 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 71 IP and hit .292 with 20 RBI while playing a solid defensive third base. "Jack was a competitor on the mound and wanted the ball in a big game," said coach Chris Piggott. "He had an outstanding year for us."

Kurt Becker Palatine

It's no surprise Becker was in the middle of Palatine making history as it won consecutive regional titles for the first time. The Mid-Suburban West co-player of the year hit .439 with 14 doubles and 23 RBI and was 5-4 with a 2.13 ERA on the mound. "Kurt is the epitome of the student athlete," said coach Paul Belo. "His leadership will be sorely missed and the impact on our program has been immeasurable".

Patrick Bellinger Schaumburg

When the bell rang for the start of the postseason the Evansville-bound righty answered with 3 of the Saxons' victories in their run to the 4A supersectional. Bellinger finished 9-4 with a 2.76 ERA, 64 strikeouts and 18 walks in 66 innings. "He really came on with his poise and demeanor on the mound," said coach Paul Groot. "He did a great job for us."

Jeremy Berger Buffalo Grove

Berger didn't pitch one inning in the Bison program as a sophomore and junior but was ready when he finally got his opportunity. The senior went 5-2 with a 2.18 ERA and allowed only 33 hits in 55 innings. "Jeremy is a ferocious competitor on the mound," said coach Jeff Grybash. "He always wanted the ball, is a true lover of the game and a fine example of how hard work pays off."

Ethan Bloom Hoffman Estates

Reduced the pop in the bats didn't diminish Bloom's power one bit. The sophomore hit a school-record .450 and tied the school homer mark with 9 while driving in 27 runs and hitting 14 doubles. Also skilled defensively at first, third or catcher. "Ethan is a pure hitter," said coach Todd Meador. "He has come a long way and learned a great deal about hitting in a short time as a varsity starter."

Matt Brancato Schaumburg

The Mid-Suburban West co-player of the year helped inspire the Saxons' late-season drive to 25 wins and a supersectional appearance. Brancato hit .463 with 11 doubles, 4 homers and 32 RBI and went 6-2 with 3 saves and a 2.73 ERA. "When he talked people listened," said coach Paul Groot. "It's nice to have a kid like that -- an old-school type of kid."

Lee Breitzman Fremd

Breitzman shaped up in the offseason physically and the result was a lean 2.22 ERA with a 6-2 record, 44 strikeouts and 12 walks for the MSL West champions. "Lee emerged as our 1A pitcher this year," said coach Chris Piggott. "He consistently threw strikes and was always ahead in the count. He had the best demeanor on the mound, nothing seemed to bother him."

Keith Browning Fremd

Browning could use his legs to make doubles offensively and take them away defensively in the outfield for the MSL West champs. The senior hit .336 with 12 doubles, 17 RBI, 14 stolen bases and a team-high 38 runs. "If we needed to start a rally he always came through," said coach Chris Piggott. "Keith has amazing speed and if a ball was hit anywhere in his vicinity he could run it down."

Thomas Byrne Schaumburg

A knee injury late in the basketball season was a cause for concern for the senior leadoff man and shortstop. But Byrne missed only 6 games and had the ability to jump-start the Saxons' offense by hitting .347 with 7 doubles, 27 RBI, 10 stolen bases and 35 runs. "He made us go," said coach Paul Groot. "When he got on he scored and he really set the table for us. He has some great instincts."

Brennan Chillemi Leyden

Chilling Chillemi's bat was not an easy task this season as he hit a team-high .382 with 9 doubles and 16 RBI for first-year coach Rob Hamann. "Brennan was our most improved and productive hitter this year," Hamann said. "He had several clutch hits and was always ready to compete no matter who the opposing pitcher is."

Jack Czeszewski Elk Grove

You could opt not to run on the Illinois State-bound Czeszewski in center field but there was nowhere to hide this year when he was on the mound as he went 5-3 with a 1.53 ERA and 63 Ks in 55 IP. The three-time all-area pick also hit .376 with 15 doubles, 14 RBI and 12 stolen bases. "Jack possesses great baseball tools and was our most consistent player all year long," said coach Terry Beyna.

Mike Danielak Hersey

A couple of runs were usually more than enough support for the Dartmouth-bound Danielak. The Mid-Suburban East co-player of the year was 8-2 with a save, a school-record 0.87 ERA and 91 Ks, 12 walks and only 36 hits allowed in 64 IP. "He had excellent command of both sides of the plate," said coach Bob Huber. "It was no wonder we felt good about our chances when Mike was on the mound."

James Duckmann Maine West

Duckmann was a Warrior no matter where he played. The senior hit .350 with 10 doubles, 4 triples and 29 RBI and had a 5-5 record with 4 saves and a 2.38 ERA in 75 innings. "James is one of the best all-around baseball players I have ever coached," said coach Joe Pederson. "Whether he was playing infield, outfield or on the mound, the kid gave you everything he had."

Aaron Foley Barrington

There was no mistaking Foley's impact in sparking Barrington's resurgence as it more than doubled its victory total from a year ago. The senior hit .364 with 3 homers and 13 RBI and had a .606 slugging percentage. "Foley had a great year hitting the ball," said coach Jim Hawrysko. "He was great at taking advantage of mistake pitches."

Brad Gerdes Prospect

Gerdes wasn't fancy but Prospect loved his quiet consistency the last two seasons. Moved to shortstop this year and hit .336 with 20 RBI. "He went under the radar for two years and he's a quiet kid who just does his job," said coach Ross Giusti. "He can play anywhere in the infield and outfield and he did an outstanding job for us this year."

Kevin Grudzinski Hoffman Estates

The four-year fixture at shortstop and Holy Cross recruit also sparked the offense at .301 with 19 RBI and 10 steals and closed out wins at 2-2 with 4 saves and 36 Ks in 22 innings. "He has all of the tools that make for an outstanding shortstop," said coach Todd Meador "It has been a great luxury to have a shortstop who made so many difficult plays look so easy."

Cody Gustafson Elk Grove

Gustafson's ability to throw three pitches for strikes made him a tough assignment for opponents. The senior went 5-1 with 1 save and a 2.67 ERA. "He demonstrated great competitiveness and was always wanting to take the ball for his team," said coach Terry Beyna.

Trevor Haas Hersey

Haas answered all questions about his health as he rebounded from surgery last summer to remove a blood clot from his right arm. The Valparaiso-bound senior went 5-2, won the Mid-Suburban League championship and had 56 Ks and only 7 walks in 62 IP. Also hit .350 with 18 RBI with outstanding defense in center field. "A top-notch individual," said coach Bob Huber. "They don't come any better."

Matt Hendricks Rolling Meadows

Hendricks was right in the heart of everything Rolling Meadows did as the repeat all-area pick and Rollins-bound senior hit .402 with 11 doubles and 23 RBI and went 4-5 with 3 saves and a 2.45 ERA and 70 Ks in 69 innings. "He's been a huge part of Meadows baseball for the last three years," said coach Jim Lindeman, "and his production, dedication and competitive nature will be missed."

James Ioratti Hersey

Hersey knew it was in good hands when the ball was hit to the left side with Ioratti at third and Tyler Perkowitz at shortstop. Ioratti also became a big hit for the Mid-Suburban League champs at .347. "He just needed some confidence and when he got it, he took off," said coach Bob Huber. "He really improved his all-around game. He was rock-solid defensively and often made difficult plays look routine."

Gunnar Kay St. Viator

Kay has the type of arm that goes perfectly with his first name. The junior all-East Suburban Catholic Conference pick was 7-1 with a 1.70 ERA and 56 Ks in 62 IP as Viator won its third straight regional. "He had a great year for us," said coach Mike Manno. "He's a great talent and the sky is the limit for him. He works extremely hard every day to get better."

Jack Landwehr Prospect

The Landwehr legacy will live on for years at Prospect and will go beyond the records set by the Illinois State-bound senior. Went 7-3 this year with a 0.59 ERA, 100 strikeouts and 11 walks in 71 IP and hit .417 with 9 doubles. "The minute he came up as a sophomore our eyes opened," said coach Ross Giusti, "and he kind of re-energized and refueled our program."

Ryan Lidge Barrington

The 6-foot-3 switch-hitting junior is going to be a big catch for someone behind the plate. Lidge hit .352 with 6 doubles, 2 homers and 22 RBI and only struck out 6 times while playing solid defense for the Broncos. "He is an excellent catcher and is passionate about baseball," said coach Jim Hawrysko. "He will have a great future in baseball and is a pleasure to coach."

Chris Myjak St. Viator

Myjak capped three-year varsity careers in basketball and baseball with all-area selections. Myjak hit .356 with 9 doubles and 19 RBI and went 3-3 with 2 saves and a 1.65 ERA. "We really leaned on him on the mound and he was just a bulldog," said coach Mike Manno. "He displayed great poise and quiet leadership and he gets the job done."

Max Paolicchi Schaumburg

Max had a tendency to make hitters mad after they missed or failed to make solid contact with his mix of off-speed pitches. That was a fairly frequent reaction as the junior lefty was the Saxons' most consistent pitcher with a 6-4 record and a 2.69 ERA. "He kept us in every game," said coach Paul Groot. "He made some really good hitters look bad."

Tyler Perkowitz Hersey

The senior shortstop who is headed to Miami (Ohio) definitely could perk up the Hersey offense with his bat as he hit .336 with a team-high 19 RBI and had 40 stolen bases and 76 runs scored in his two years as a starter. "He solidified our infield," said coach Bob Huber. "A hard worker in the weight room and a great program role model who went about his business in a very professional manner."

Mark Roberts Hoffman Estates

The four-year varsity fixture for Hoffman departed with school records for strikeouts this season (70) and career and innings in a career. The Truman State-bound Roberts finished 4-6 but had an ERA of 2.57 and also played a strong second base. "Mark always gave his best effort and had a refuse to lose mentality on the mound," said coach Todd Meador. "He gave us a chance to win every time he took the mound."

Angel Sanchez Leyden

Leyden continually gets pitchers to step into a No. 1 role and Sanchez is the latest success story. The senior went 8-4 with a 1.60 ERA and 78 Ks in 70 IP and he hit .342 with 11 doubles and 22 RBI. "Angel is a fierce competitor," said coach Rob Hamann. "On the mound he aggressively challenged hitters all year long. He is a workhorse who always wanted the ball."

Eric Scheuermann Palatine

Coach Paul Belo said early in the season that the Bradley-bound Scheuermann was ready to accomplish big things as a senior and he delivered. He hit .333 with 9 doubles, 7 triples, 7 homers and 19 RBI in the leadoff spot, went 5-5 with a 2.17 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 71 innings on the mound and continued the Pirates' tradition of strong play in center field. "Eric is as athletic as I have ever coached," said coach Paul Belo. "His ability to steal doubles from gap to gap is as good as I have ever seen."

Frank Waliczek Barrington

Waliczek completed six games when he was pitching and played a complete game in the outfield for the Broncos. He hit .349 with 5 doubles and 16 RBI and went 5-4 on the mound with 2 saves, a 3.25 ERA and 78 Ks and 16 walks in 60 IP. "Frank is an above-average two-way player and he had a great year at both positions," said coach Jim Hawrysko.

Nico Witanen Prospect

The way Witanen pushed all-area second baseman Matt Molini last year was a good sign. So was the senior's sizzling 11-for-12 start on Prospect's Florida trip as he finished at .375. "I can't even remember his errors, that's how solid he was defensively," said coach Ross Giusti. "He's a solid baserunner and he got our offense going."

Richie Zirngibl Buffalo Grove

There was no offseason for the three-sport senior standout but it didn't have any adverse effect on the BG outfielder. Zirngibl hit .311 with 12 doubles and 15 RBI and had 2 saves. "Richie is an extremely versatile player and very instinctive on the field," said coach Jeff Grybash. "A tremendous leader and a gamer in every sense of the word. A true program player."

All-Area roster

Name School Pos. Yr.

Jack Andersen Fremd P-3B Sr

Kurt Becker Palatine P-1B Sr.

Patrick Bellinger Schaumburg P-1B Sr.

Jeremy Berger Buffalo Grove P Sr.

Ethan Bloom Hoffman Estates OF-C So.

*Matt Brancato Schaumburg 3B-P Sr.

Lee Breitzman Fremd P Sr.

Keith Browning Fremd OF Sr.

Thomas Byrne Schaumburg SS Sr.

Brennan Chillemi Leyden OF Sr.

Jack Czeszewski Elk Grove OF-P Sr.

Mike Danielak Hersey P-1B Sr.

James Duckmann Maine West P-OF Sr.

Aaron Foley Barrington 1B Sr.

Brad Gerdes Prospect SS Sr.

Kevin Grudzinski Hoffman Estates SS-P Sr.

Cody Gustafson Elk Grove P Sr.

Trevor Haas Hersey P-OF Sr.

Matt Hendricks Rolling Meadows P-IF Sr.

James Ioratti Hersey 3B Sr.

Gunnar Kay St. Viator P Jr.

*Jack Landwehr Prospect P-3B Sr.

Ryan Lidge Barrington C Jr.

Chris Myjak St. Viator P-3B Sr.

Max Paolicchi Schaumburg P Jr.

Tyler Perkowitz Hersey SS Sr.

Mark Roberts Hoffman Estates P-2B Sr.

Angel Sanchez Leyden P Sr.

Eric Scheuermann Palatine P-OF Sr.

Frank Waliczek Barrington P-OF Sr.

Nico Witanen Prospect 2B Sr.

Richie Zirngibl Buffalo Grove OF Sr.

* -- Honorary co-captains

Special mention

Michael Anciulis (Elk Grove, Jr., 3B), Colin Bethran (Schaumburg, Sr., OF), Jordan Fedro (Prospect, So., P), Kerry Hickerson (Conant, Sr., 1B), Eric Lowe (Rolling Meadows, Sr., SS), Tim McElroy (St. Viator, Sr., P), Sean Reszotko (Hersey, Sr., C), Jimmy Ward (Hoffman Estates, Jr., P-1B).

Honorable mention

Nick Blaha (Conant, Sr., P), Matt Dennis (Rolling Meadows, Jr., P), Joey Diaz (Leyden, Sr., OF), Luc Dimaso (Elk Grove, Jr., OF), Kyle Gizynski (Conant, Sr., SS), Dan Kavanaugh (Prospect, Jr., C-OF), Peter Kinsella (Elk Grove, Sr., C), Scott Nelson (Barrington, Jr., OF), Pat Nix (Hersey, Sr., P), Mike Olson (Rolling Meadows, Sr., OF), Roy Pettingill (St. Viator, Jr., DH), Scott Schneberger (Palatine, Sr., 2B), Dan Schoedel (Leyden, Sr., P), Matt Swanson (Maine West, So., P), Kalvin Thong (Wheeling, Sr., SS)

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