Northern Knights Take Charge
18u Knights Capture Four Tournament Titles!
The Northern Knights are celebrating their 5th anniversary with a strong summer on the field. Led by the outstanding 18u team, the program has had success at each level.
Truly a team that will be remembered for a long time in the Knights program, the 18u squad has dominated this summer. They went undefeated while capturing the championships of the prestigious Schaumburg Seminoles Slugfest and the Northwestern "Will to Live" 18u tournament. They added their 3rd title at the Legends of the Summer event before closing out the season going undefeated in the Around The Horn Invitational and winning their 4th tournament moving their record for the season to 24-1-1. The core of this team has played together starting as 15u's four summers ago and has grown into one of the best teams in the state. Led by Illinois High School Hall of Fame coach Chuck Gandolfi and assisted by Matt Miller, the players developed into prime college players and have won numerous individual awards this past high school season:
Will Farmer (SIU) -- 2013 Sun-Times All-Area Baseball First Team, 2013 IHSBCA All State Team, Daily Herald All Area Team
Mitch Schulewitz (UIC) -- 2013 Sun-Times All-Area Baseball First Team, 2013 IHSBCA All State Team, Daily Herald All Area Team
Evan Regez (Chicago State) -- 2013 IHSBCA All State Team
Jared Rubin -- 2013 IHSBCA All State Team
Tyler Murphy (Butler) - Daily Herald All Area Team Honorable Mention
Matt Vogt (Minnesota- Duluth) - Daily Herald All Area Team Honorable Mention
The 18u's pitching staff has contributed greatly to the team's success. Dillon Wallace, Trent Faunce (Eckerd), Xander Horwitz (Illinois Wesleyan), Duncan Amrein, David Silverberg, Schulewitz ,Thomas Gandolfi (Coe) have all been rock solid on the mound. They simply do not walk anybody and when the other team puts the ball in play an extremely sound defense makes most every play. The pitchers have two great backstops in Vogt and Regez. The strength of our defense has been its versatility. This depth and flexibility gives us the chance to play kids at multiple positions without losing any skill on defense. The infield is led by Farmer and the rest of our infielders Nico Carracillo, Amrein, Schulewitz and Horwitz. The outfield defense has been outstanding with Gandolfi, Wallace, Rubin and Murphy. Consistency at the plate has been excellent. Every player has contributed.
The most enjoyable aspect of the team is the commitment they have made to each other and the game of baseball. They just love to compete. These players will truly be missed, but they have set a great example for our program and teams to come.
Under the guidance of Head Coach Todd Bruschon, the 17u Knights are enjoying a streak of making the playoff rounds in each of their last four tournaments. Pitching has led the way, with the team getting strong efforts on the mound from starters Nick Newman (Vernon Hills), Ian Grant (Libertyville), Mac Levin (Deerfield), LJ Austin (Stevenson), Tyler Kozaritz (Mundelein) and Ryan Kain (Warren). The team recently went 4-0 in pool play at the Freedom Classic in St. Louis and earned the #2 seed. The team was the #1 seed at the Judson Invitational, after a 4-0 record in pool play. Other highlights of the season include a strong showing at the Northwestern "Will to Live" 18u tournament and being one of the top 16 teams out of 64 at the University of Michigan. Even more impressive considering projected top pitcher Jeff Barton (Libertyville) has not been able to throw for the Knights this summer. Zach Brownstein (Deerfield) has been a stalwart behind the plate while also contributing with the bat. Good pitching is always backed up by good fielding and the team has been helped by great glovework from OF Bryan Stanislawski (Carmel) and 3B Sean Edgar (Buffalo Grove). Noah Greenberg (Libertyville), Nick Ramagnano (Carmel), Will McGarrgile (Cary Grove), David Collins (Carmel) and Jake Stotter (Deerfield) have had impressive seasons at the plate. The Knights are also missing the bat of Jake Campbell (Vernon Hills), who is sidelined with an injury, but he and Jeff Barton have provided strong leadership for the team from the dugout.
Coach Todd Brunschon has his players heavily involved in college recruitment and we expect a number of commitments in the future. In addition, Jeff Barton was named Daily Herald All Area Team Honorable Mention. Nick Newman was named to his All Conference team.
16u Knights American
The 16u American Knights also have had their share of tournament success. Coach Eric Knott has them playing at a high level, making the playoff rounds in 5 of 6 tournaments; including a #1 seed at the Judson 17u Classic after sweeping pool play with a 4-0 record and finishing in 2nd place overall in the tournament. They also went 3-0 to earn the #2 seed at the Northwestern "Will to Live" 16u tournament. Another undefeated effort at the DeKalb Invite (3-0-1) brought them to the playoffs as the #4 seed.
Carter Baretz (Stevenson) has come up with clutch hits when needed and is a leading candidate for team MVP. Sage Bruhl (Glenbrook North) is a hard nosed player and is doing a great job of getting on base. He has played shortstop at a high level this summer. Jim Marchese (Stevenson) has made an immediate impact on the team playing stellar outfield. Mateo Hargitt (Lake Forest) brings the element of speed to the team. He also solidified the outfield for the Knights. Matt Gruenes (Lake Forest) has one of the highest on base percentages on the team. Joey Lytchke (Carmel) is making impact as a starting pitcher as well as with his glove. Nick Brune (Mundelein) - has also thrown multiple complete games this summer.
Joey Marras (Vernon Hills) - has done a great job behind the plate and makes life easier for the pitching staff as has Liam Fitzpatrick (Lakes) who has been a defensive threat to runners all season. Ty Peccioli (Warren) has done a solid job on the mound, both as a starter and out of the bullpen. Garret McClellan (Carmel) is developing into dominant starter while Ben Geren (Vernon Hills) is the player the coaches look to throw deep in the playoffs. Patrick Betti (Mundelein) has emerged as a real threat out of the bullpen and has been contributing at the plate. Two top players, Wes Farmer (Mundelein) and Jordan Fuller (Carmel) have battled injuries. Farmer, now sidelined for the rest of the season, was playing at a high level and was leading the team in home runs. Fuller, while not able to play full time, has been a great weapon off the bench as a pinch runner.
In addition, Jimmy Marchese was named Daily Herald All Area Team Honorable Mention.
16u Knights National
After their first five tournaments this summer, the 16u Knights National team has outperformed expectations by a landslide and has made great improvements from last year. The improvements can largely be credited to how consistent the starting pitching has been. Brian Schrimmer (Vernon Hills), Anthony Coduti (Buffalo Grove), and Joey Lehman (Carmel) have led the way all summer, throwing quality start after quality start. Schrimmer and Coduti have recorded 3 wins each. Leading the way with the bats have been Carter Naughton (Mundelein), Gage Brown (Warren), Justin Ehren (Carmel), and Patrick Ergastolo (Carmel). Naughton and Brown, solid returners from last year, have been able to consistently get on base for us at the top of the order. Ehren has easily been the team's most consistent fielder, hitter, and base runner. He leads the team in doubles, steals, and has yet to make an error as the starting center fielder. Ergastolo, the starting first basemen is hitting over .450.
Ryan Jones (Carmel) and Skylar Williams (Carmel) have been two fantastic team players, willing to fill multiple roles. Chris Naujokas (Conant) and Alex Moderhack (Mundelein) are two of our main utility players. Naujokas has seen time as a corner infielder, outfielder, catcher, and has pitched in relief while recording 3 saves. Moderhack, the starting catcher last year, unfortunately has been plagued with a nagging shoulder injury this year which has limited his time behind the plate, but his constant hustle, leadership, and overall will to win has been an outstanding example to other players. Eric Mas (Carmel), John Stopka (Grayslake North), and Garrett Boehm (Carmel) all see consistent time in the outfield and provide innings on the mound.
The team has consistently earned a winning record in their tournaments highlighted by a great showing at the University of Michigan.
15u Knights American
The 15U Northern Knights American showed very well this summer season, as a new crop of young talented players took the field to showcase their talents at a number of Midwest and local tournaments. The Knights featured players from five different Lake county high schools including Stevenson, Mundelein, Lake Forest, Deerfield and Carmel.
The Knights were lead on the mound by strong summers from Ryan Pfutzenreuter (Deerfield), Griffin Norton (Carmel) and Justin Kopech (Stevenson), with help from Reese Dolan (Mundlelein) and Zach Shutan (Deerfield). Ryan Finley (Stevenson) logged the most innings coming out of the pen. This pitching depth was definitely a key strength for the team.
All pitchers appreciate solid defense. The Knights showed a knack for handling the baseball at every position. Leading the team behind the plate were Reid Rubio (Mundelein)and Connor Knop (Lake Forest), both backstops were able to help shut opposing teams running games down as runners were thrown out at a 61% rate for the season. Outfielders Ben Charlson (Deerfield), Dylan Molek (Stevenson), Norton and Dolan saw the majority of the playing time and were very strong fielding close to .985% clip throughout the summer. The infield play as Jack Trotter (Stevenson), John Caffarelli (Carmel) and Kyle Bucsa (Carmel) were strong up the middle of the while, Patrick Loeffler (Stevenson) and Pfutzenreuter manned the corner infield positions.
The Knights offense, saw a tremendous improvement through out the year with an attack that featured power and consistency from a number of players featuring Loeffler who lead the way with a .378 batting average while hitting 5 doubles, 6 triples, 1 home run and getting hit by a team record 18 pitches. Other leaders with the bat were Molek at .348 and 19 stolen bases and Trotter at .327 and who also lead the team with 12 doubles.
15u Knights National
The 15u Knights Nationals have had success in all areas of the game. On the mound, Sam Perlin (Vernon Hills) and Jared Millman (Stevenson) have been impressive. Ben Wolf (Deerfield) has been a standout behind the plate, as well as with the bat. Wolf calls great games, and really knows how to handle a pitching staff. Defensively, Matt Paszko (Vernon Hills) has been doing a great job patrolling centerfield and Ian Dir (Carmel) deserves a Gold Glove for his play at second base. James Pendley (Grant), Drew Rapplean (Carmel) Jason Santos (Mundelein), Jake Beelow (Mundelein), and Kevin Molloy (Carmel) have all been swinging hot bats. Their seasons were highlighted by a huge hitting weekend at the Lakeside Challenge Tournament. Other key contributors for the Knights have been Matt Collins (Carmel), Brendan Keogh (Vernon Hills), Tyler Gold (Deerfield), Max Schnierow (Stevenson), and Zack Zagula (Mundelein). The Knights are coached by Deerfield baseball alums Cameron McConnell and Jesse Katz.
2014 Northern Knights Tryouts
The tryouts for the 2014 teams starts the week of August 5th. More information can be found at www.northernknightsbaseball.com. Interested players can complete a Tryout Registration Form online. Please direct questions to 847-388-3545 or firstname.lastname@example.org.