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updated: 6/6/2013 7:19 PM

School's out — just in time for preparation season to begin

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For most people, their year follows the traditional calendar and ends Dec. 31.

For those who are part of the high school sports scene, however, the yearly calendar is much different. It officially ends this weekend with the big-school baseball and softball finals -- although some would say it never ends -- and doesn't officially begin again until mid-August, when football teams start practicing.

These couple of months were always a welcome respite for those of us who covered high school sports. There are a few stories to track and catch up on and a few games here and there to cover, but it is primarily a great time to get recharged for another year that will be here before we know it.

But this is hardly an off-season for coaches and athletes. It has become a crucial time for preparation and evaluation. For multi-sport athletes, it can be a time of exhaustion of bouncing between games, team camps and other training sessions.

The days, for example, of a football team having a large number of starting spots open when practice officially starts in August are long gone. The reality is many of those positions will have been earned by that time.

And it all goes along with the different dreams held by teams and their athletes.

Some teams are chasing legitimate shots at state titles while others may be trying to re-establish themselves as legitimately competitive programs. Some kids are chasing their dreams of playing in college while others are driving toward winning a starting job or getting more playing time.

Hopefully, however, there is some down time to relax for everyone. For kids to have some chances to be kids, and for coaches to get some chances to get away from the pressure and stress that goes with their territory.

Especially since the new year will arrive sooner than you might think.

Borenstein tearing up the California League

Becoming part of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfield won't be easy with Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos already out there. But former Buffalo Grove star Zach Borenstein is putting up some attention-grabbing numbers in his third season in their organization.

The left-handed hitting Borenstein was hitting .300 with 14 homers and 41 RBI (through Wednesday) in 55 games for the Inland Empire 66ers in the Advanced Class A California League. Borenstein hit .266 with 11 homers and 50 RBI in 79 games at Class A Cedar Rapids last year after a Rookie League debut of .274 with 2 HR and 21 RBI in 31 games in 2011.

Borenstein was selected in the 23rd round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Angels out of Eastern Illinois. He helped BG reach the Class AA Elite Eight in 2007.

Tauchman ready to feel the draft

Former Fremd star Mike Tauchman, who had one of the best baseball seasons in Bradley University history, will be waiting for that draft call and news this weekend. Baseball America's 500 Draft Preview ranked the left-handed hitting outfielder 369th nationally and fifth in Illinois.

The draft started with the top 73 picks on Thursday. Rounds 3 through 10 are today and 11 through 40 are Saturday.

Tauchman was a second-team Louisville Slugger All-American and Joe Carter Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year this spring as he hit a nation-leading .425 with 16 doubles and 41 RBI and stole 28 bases in 30 attempts. The left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder and four-year starter also had 8 assists to showcase the arm that made him a standout quarterback at Fremd.

Area products enjoy state baseball success

Buffalo Grove graduate Jason Wiertel helped Lisle's rise to a surprise Class 2A state title last weekend in Peoria as an assistant coach. Wiertel starred in basketball and baseball at BG in the late 1990s and in both sports at Carthage College.

Former Rolling Meadows standout Jim Schurr led Libertyville to this weekend's 4A state finals in Joliet. Schurr also spent two seasons as a head coach at Elk Grove in 1993-94.

And Grayslake Central will claim its second 3A trophy in five years this weekend with Joe Ecker (Maine West) as a varsity assistant and Mike Blasevich (Fremd) as a freshman coach on Troy Whalen's staff.

• Marty Maciaszek is a freelance writer for the Daily Herald who can be contacted at

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