The Wildcats always knew Blackburn could pitch. This season the senior showed how well he hits. He went 7-4 -- three of his losses were 3-hit, 2-1 decisions -- with a 1.59 ERA and 86 strikeouts. The first baseman-designated hitter batted .361 with 30 RBI. "He was a hard-luck pitcher but still very good," coach Robin Renner said.
Without this junior ace the Warriors don't win their first regional since 1973. Cericola dominated hitters all season, but especially in a regional win over Wheaton North and a sectional win over Bartlett. Cericola went 8-1 with a 0.99 ERA and 94 strikeouts. "He's the one kid we always felt confident with out there," coach Vic Wisner said.
Dyrda may not have been overpowering, but the senior pitcher threw four pitches for strikes and backed himself up with tremendous defense on the mound. Dyrda went 9-1 -- he was unbeaten in Illinois -- with a 1.41 ERA. "He's successful because he mixes it up and keeps hitters off-balance at the plate," coach Mike Riley said.
Evak started the season hitting ninth in the order and ended it hitting second. The junior's stats show why. An extremely athletic gap hitter, the right fielder batted .455 with 29 RBI. Evak also stole 22 bases. "We knew he was a good athlete and baseball player, but he really exceeded our expectations," coach Robin Renner said.
How dominant was this junior pitcher? Gerber followed a 1-hitter with a no-hitter and wound up with another 1-hitter. Pounding the strike zone with three pitches, Gerber went 8-0 with 2 saves, a 1.21 ERA and 64 strikeouts. "When you can throw a 2-0 breaking ball for a strike, that makes it awful tough on hitters," coach Robin Renner said.
Downers Grove South
No area pitcher had better command than this junior. Glowicki notched 82 strikeouts against 7 walks for nearly a 12-to-1 ratio. He went 8-2 with a 1.41 ERA and 3 saves. He earned one after escaping a bases-loaded jam with no outs. "The way we struggled to hit the ball, he was under a lot of pressure to be perfect," coach Darren Orel said.
Howell put up stunning offensive numbers this season. The senior first baseman and pitcher nearly achieved an area triple crown with a .442 batting average, 7 home runs and 45 RBI while compiling a .846 slugging percentage. Howell went 4-0 on the mound. "It was incredible how the ball jumped off his bat," coach Pete Meyer said.
A testament to an off-season filled with hard work, Kavanaugh crushed the ball to all fields this spring. The senior center fielder and pitcher batted .402 with 8 home runs and 36 RBI while posting a .689 slugging percentage. He had a 1.79 ERA in 39 innings pitched. "It's amazing how far he's come in the last year," coach Brian Wojtun said.
Perhaps the premier leadoff hitter in the area, Kent tied a program record with 61 hits and set the DuPage Valley Conference record with 38. Bolstered by blazing speed, the junior center fielder batted .477 while turning singles into doubles and doubles into triples. "He definitely set the table for our lineup," coach Dan Schoessling said.
Saving his best play for the DuPage Valley Conference season and the playoffs, Lewandowski's efforts helped the Redhawks to their third sectional title in four years. The senior pitcher and third baseman, who also was selected to the All-Area football team as a quarterback, went 8-2 with 81 strikeouts and a 1.45 ERA while batting .339.
The 2012 Daily Herald DuPage County All-Area baseball captain, Long capped a stellar three-year career by leading his team at the plate and on the mound. The senior center fielder-pitcher hit .429 with 2 homers and 27 RBI. He went 8-2, winning seven straight decisions as his ERA sank. "He led the way for us," coach Carl Hunckler said.
A two-time All-Area selection and the West Suburban Gold player of the year, Morris flashed all five tools this senior season. He committed only 1 error behind the plate and hit .510 with 15 doubles, 2 homers and 31 RBI. Emmanuel also pitched valuable innings for the Hornets. "It's like having another coach out there," coach Paul Hoel said.
After gathering key varsity experience as a sophomore Nashert emerged as one of the Redhawks' most important players this junior season. The center fielder and pitcher provided a spark at leadoff by batting .375 with 21 RBI and 8 stolen bases. On the mound he went 5-1 with a 1.54 ERA and a victory in the Class 4A sectional championship game.
Hard to believe, but Rothmund began the season playing the first five games on the sophomore level. The first baseman eventually hit in the three hole and finished among area RBI leaders. Rothmund hit .391 with 42 RBI. A converted catcher, he committed only 2 errors. "He hit some of the hardest balls I've ever seen," coach Vic Wisner said.
Sam Santa Maria
After enduring much of his high school career battling injuries, Santa Maria finally enjoyed a full season his senior year. The third baseman played every game despite a few nagging injuries and finished with a .398 batting average, 6 homers and 31 RBI. "He came up with a bunch of clutch hits for us," coach Scott Lawler said.
Schuster was simply perfect this season for Hinsdale South. The senior pitcher went 9-0 in his fourth varsity campaign -- winning every game in which he pitched -- and posted a 1.15 ERA with 60 strikeouts against only 14 walks in 54 innings. He also blasted 7 home runs. "There's still a lot of upside with him," coach Paul Hoel said.
Committed to Louisville as a junior, Solak's potential is obvious. He lived up to that potential this season as his switch from second base to shortstop helped spark a late-season surge by the Huskies. Solak, a two-year starter, hit .442 with 27 RBI and stole 17 bases. "Nobody's going to outwork him," coach Carl Hunckler said.
Swaney capped an outstanding four-year varsity career by posting another season of big numbers for the Warriors. The senior pitcher, infielder and outfielder, an All-Area honoree as a junior, batted .438 with 3 home runs, 27 RBI and a .648 slugging percentage. Swaney won two games pitching while posting a 2.03 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 52 innings.
Taugner's record this junior season may have included three losses with his eight wins, but coach Dan Colucci is quick to point out that two of his losses were by shutout. His 1.25 ERA was bolstered by an unreal strikeout-to-walk mark of 85-8. In two varsity years he has a record of 14-3. "He's exactly what you want on the mound," Colucci said.
Ryan Van Volkenburg
The three-year starter and all-Interstate Eight pick is still just a junior. The pitcher and center fielder thrived everywhere, including a 7-1 record with a 0.64 ERA on the mound to move his high school career mark to 15-1. Van Volkenburg batted .385 with 3 homers. "Ryan's simply a baseball player through and through," coach Pete Meyer said.
Tom Ameche (sr., IF, St. Francis); Sean Beesley (sr., OF, Hinsdale South); Tom Bolle (sr., P, Metea Valley); Tyler Curtis (sr., P-OF, Glenbard West); D.J. Deolitsis (jr., OF, Hinsdale South); Troy Fumagalli (jr., P-IF, Waubonsie Valley); Tanner Giesel (sr., IF, Neuqua Valley); Jared Jayne (sr., P-IF, Lisle); Alex Moss (sr., IF, Naperville North); Kenny Obendorf (sr., IF, Metea Valley); Dan Ribando (sr., OF, Immaculate Conception); Jake Rzeszutko (sr., IF, York); Chris Sanderson (sr., P, Benet); Jeff Schank (jr., P-IF, Naperville Central); Jake Schieber (sr., OF, Wheaton North); Greg Schultz (sr., P-IF, Addison Trail); Ryan Solomon (sr., OF-P, Metea Valley); Chris Stout (sr., IF, Benet); Tom Van Kooten (sr., IF-P, Willowbrook); Pat Walsh (sr., P-IF Glenbard East).
DuPage County Captains
1989: Erin Dwyer, Glenbard North
1990: Clint Jensen, Naperville Central
1991: Mark Odzga, Waubonsie Valley
1992: Brett Lauvrick, Naperville Central
1993: Justin Pierro, Benet
1994: Jerry Hairston, Naperville North
1995: Jody Gerut, Willowbrook
1996: Scott Schmid, York
1997: Russ Bayer, Naperville North
1998: Russ Bayer, Naperville North
1999: Craig Lechowicz, Downers Grove South
2000: Mike Kelly, Waubonsie Valley
2001: Dan Walsh, Neuqua Valley
2002: Sam Shorts, Glenbard East
2003: Kyle O'Brien, Glenbard East
2004: Mike Bowden, Waubonsie Valley
2005: Mike Bowden, Waubonsie Valley
2006: Connor Powers, Benet
2007: Pete Cappetta, Montini
2008: Bryan Roberts, Benet
2009: Jack DeAno, Wheaton North
2010: Shane Conlon, Naperville Central
2011: Matt Wivinis, Downers Grove South
2012: Mariano Long, Naperville North