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Baseball: Scouting Northwest

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By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent

MID-SUBURBAN EASTBuffalo GroveCoach: Jeff Grybash (6th season 74-87)

Last year: 12-17 7-9 (4th place MSL East)

Key losses: Mike DiViesti (Butler University), Jon Niemann (Triton JC), Adam Kowalski (North Park), Ken Bartelt (Knox College), Billy Chandler (Triton JC), Luke Potnick, Nick Carpinelli, Paul Burke, Ryan Schumi, Matt Blankshain, Josh Guertler, Andy Gonzalez, Jason Stein.

Returnees: Seniors: Andrew Barger (P), Steven Donnewald (P), Eric Van Wazer (P), Andrew Cole (2B), Sean Edgar (3B), Jeremy Firszt (SS), Alex Kurgan (OF), Brendon Murphy (OF-P). Junior: Dan Levato (C), Justin Hasek (P-OF).

Newcomers: Juniors: Mike Kleczynski (OF), Anthony Coduti (OF-P), Adam Apel (OF-P), Mike Bieber (INF), Nate D'Onofrio (INF-P), Ryan Deutsch (P), Jake Mueller (C-P-INF), Tommy McSorley (OF-P), Ryan Williams (C-P-INF), Jake Letwat (P-INF), Mike Jakosalem (P), Ricky Strba (1B).

Outlook: The Bison came with a game of winning theregional title last year and Grybash is looking to build off of that. It will be a senior- dominated infield with Cole at 2B, Firszt, who missed all of last season with an elbow injury, at short and Edgar at 3B. Strba, D'Onofrio and Williams will get work 1B. Hasek is looking to build off a strong sophomore season. Murphy looks to continue the strides he made last year while D'Onofrio, Van Wazer and Barger have worked themselves into the rotation. "A lot new faces out on the field, but an exciting off season," Grybash said. "They are very self-motivated group of seniors and juniors that have focused on improving all aspects of being student-athletes and living in the moment."

Elk GroveCoach: Terry Beyna (15th season, 239-240)

Last year: 25-11, 10-6 (2nd place in MSL East, Regional champion)

Key losses: David Camacho (all-area), Luc DiMaso, Mike Maize, Mike Anciulis, Mike Woods, Patrick O'Malley

Returnees: Johnny Assimakopoulos (C), Petar Arbov (3B), Matt Wary (INF), Josh Bergbreiter (INF), Adam O'Malley (INF/P), Tyler Lawson (P), Daryl Rivera (P-OF)

Newcomers: Juniors: Brandon Post (P), Austin Shallcross, (CF)

Outlook: After winning their regional last year, the Grens look to pick where they left off. Graduation left some holes, especially on the hill with the loss of all area pitcher Camacho. Adam O'Malley, Lawson, Rivera and Post look to pick up the slack. Offensively, Arbov, who will attend Concordia, along with Assimakopoulos, Wary, O'Malley and Bergbreiter will be the keys to scoring runs. "We definitely lost a lot from last year's team", Beyna said. "However; I feel our guys have worked very hard for the season and I have high expectations."

HerseyCoach: Bob Huber (20th season, 381-284)

Last year: 12-19, 8-8 (3rd MSL East)

Key losses: Dave Milligan (all-area, Notre Dame), Alex Sutrinatis, Connor Steines, Bendar Starr, Jake Yager, Ryan Rodgers, Mark Witke

Returnees: Seniors Eric Labahn (P-1B), Joe Klutnik (p-OF), Rich Carusiello (P), Tom Pearson (P-2B), Jack Wanner (Inf), CJ Reichel (C), Andre Segalla (SS), Joe Silva (CF), Karl Taillon (P-OF), Mitch Smelser (1B). Juniors Ryan Allain (p-OF), Nick Zouras (C-3B)

Newcomers: Juniors Will Trossen (OF), Will Goldsberry (Inf), Kris Plough (C-1B), Scott Bakal (Inf), Zac Durec (P), John Dempsey (OF), Louis Roasado (P-OF). Sophomores Tanner Luke (P-OF), Luke Lasozvia (P-OF)

Outlook: The Huskies look to get back into the mix in the MSL East. First they will need to replace all-area middle infielder Dave Milligan, who hit .327 last year. Concordia River Forest recruit Silva, who played center field last year and hit .297 and catcher Reichel, who hit .270, lead the offense. North park recruit Koutnik will be the ace on the mound while sophomores Luke and Lasozvia could see lots of action. "All our seniors have a lot of experience since they saw significant time last year," Huber said. "Our pitching and defense will determine our fate."

ProspectCoach: Ross Giusti (18th season 379-284)

Last year: 10-19, 5-11 (6th MSL East)

Key losses: Zach Tuczak, Welby Malczewski, Kevin Kern, Alec Backus, Danny Mack, Zach Smith, Pat Hipple

Returnees: Seniors: Grant Gerdes (INF), Mike Smith (P), Jackson Wrede (INF), Jim Kennedy (INF), Tom Flahaven (INF), Tony Gattuso (P), Jordan Fedro (P), Nick Rodriguez (P), Kevin Joyce (OF), John Loving (P). Juniors: Patrick Donohue (INF), Mike Piotrowski (OF), Tyler Damasky (OF).

Newcomers: Juniors: Matt Nadler (INF), Jake Cavaini (INF), Lucas Karz (INF), Karson Brinkman (INF), Trey Compton (Of), Cliff Arnoux (Of), Kevin Miller (C), Sean Delacruz (C), Jack Courtney (C), Justin Placko (P), Danny Devereux (P), Willie Sampson (P), Nick Donzelli (P).

Outlook: After a disappointing season a year ago, the Knights look to turn the tables. They return five starters on defense and four pitchers with a wealth of experience on the mound. The pitching staff is led by Bradley-bound Jordan Fedro. The seniors are complemented by a talented group of juniors that showed promise over the past summer. "This is a very interchangeable

group that can play multiple positions which gives the coaching staff a lot of line up flexibility," Giusti said.

Rolling Meadows Coach: Jim Lindeman (13th season, 210-176)

Last year: 19-11, 14-2 conf., MSL champions

Key losses: Mike Dolan (all-area, Rollins College), Zach Schultz 2B, Matt Dennis (All-area ,MSL East player of the year, Bradley), John Burkiewicz (Carthage), Mickey Wazorick (all-area), Dan Hendrickson, Jacob Grant, Dan Hendricks, Dan Malnati, Jim Grier,Kevin Kurzawski, Steven Royster, Jack Milas

Returnees: Seniors: Alex Niecikowski (SS-P), Kevin Montero (OF), Erik Schurtz (1B-P), Bob Suchecki (C), Billy Garoppolo (OF).

Newcomers: Juniors: Brett Gibson (OF-P), Jack O'Neil (INF), Josh Thompson (INF), Ryan Differding (INF-P), Nick Daub (INF), Manny Zervos (C), Eric D'Souza (OF), Terry Moran (1B-P), Sean O'Brien (OF), Jackson Banger (P), Trevor Donato (P-OF).

Outlook: Lindeman and the Mustangs will nearly have to start all over after losing almost his entire squad from his MSL championship squad. "We are real inexperienced and need guys to fill some big shoes this year," Lindeman said. "I still think we can be in the top three in the conference." Meadows will look to count on Niecikowski, who hit .344 last year and Schurtz, who battled .266 in a limited role. Both will be factors on the bump and will need some help from unproven juniors Gibson, Differding, Moran, Banger and Donato.

WheelingCoach: Jason Wieder (2nd season, 11-20)

Last year: 11-20, 6-10 (4th place, MSL East)

Key losses: Bubba Bendewald, Nick Ricciardi, (Elmhurst College), David Shapiro

Returnees: Seniors: Josh Kim (3B), Angelo DeBlasio (P-1B). Juniors: Brenden Spillane (All-Area (SS-P), Nathan Cooney (2B-P), Jake Jordan (CF-P).

Newcomers: Seniors: George Alimissis (DH-OF), Bruce Ferraro (OF), Lucas Vieau (OF), Justin Webb (1B). Juniors: Matt Vollmer (DH-INF), Marty Falkiner (INF), Max Chung (INF), Sophomore: Christian Hubbard (C).

Outlook: Spillane keeps making his mark, having verbally committed to play at Illinois last summer. The junior has been clocked at 93 MPH. He is also a threat at the plate after hitting .403 last year. The Wildcats also will find strength in the arms of DeBlasio, Cooney and Jordan. Alimiss emerged last summer, hitting .439. Wheeling will get a jump start on its competitors, going to play in Florida the last week of March. "This will mark the first competitive spring training trip for the Wildcats in program history," Wieder said. "We are looking for an improved finish from last year."

MID SUBURBAN WESTBarringtonCoach: Pat Wire (2nd season, 22-12)

Last year: 22-12, 13-3 (1st in MSL West)

Key losses: Ryan Lidge (All-Area co-captain, Notre Dame), Scott Nelson (all area), Dylan Lidge, Justin Dragosz, Dylan Balogh, Macray Poidomani, Matt Pieterzak

Returnees: Seniors: Wyatt Trautewein (P), Jack Lenz (C), Joey Sciaccotta (INF), Anthony Lombardi (OF), Richie Stefan (P), Reid Sincox (OF), Dan Kubiuk (P-INF), Nick Caminiti (OF), Cole Weber (P), Reed Sincox (OF), Jack Lenz (P-C). Juniors: Mitch Pfeiffer (OF), Jake Coon (1B), Jake Petersen (C-P-OF).

Newcomers: Juniors: Anthony Delaurentis (P), Casey Dodge (C-3B), Luke Johnson (INF), Casey Dodge (C-3b-of), Jake Petersen (C-OF-P), Nima Riahi (P), Dane Meier (P), Nick Marion (P).

Outlook: The Broncos hope to keep things rolling. After beginning the season 3-7, Barrington stormed to finish 22-12 for the year, while winning the MSL West title. "Our plan is build on last season," Wire said. "We lost a great one on Lidge, but we have Trautwein and Pfeiffer to lead us." Trautwein, who has a third generation baseball blood flowing through his veins, will attend Bradley next season. Pfeiffer, who is only a junior, is a pure leadoff hitter, reaching base 61 times and swiping 25 bases. Lenz, who will have big shoes to fill at catcher, looks like he already has slipped into a pair of his own, accepting an offer to play at Washington and Lee. Sciaccotta, Coon and Petersen all started last year for Wire. Kubiuk, who also played last year, may be lost for this season with an ankle injury.

ConantCoach: Derek Fivelson (1st Year)

Last year: 3-23, 2-14 (6th place MSL West)

Key losses: Kevin Schimel, Mike Viverito, Mike DiGioia

Returnees: Seniors: Zach Gale (IF), Steve Bola (IF-P), Brian Polaski (P-1B), Mike Matej (OF-P), Brady Pelesh (OF), Colton Comstock ( P), Jordan Wolff (IF-P), JT Peacock (C), Dan Modelski (3B- C). Juniors: Anthony Forte (OF-P), Matt Fauth (OF)

Newcomers: Juniors: Luke Downey (P), Gino Corona (3B), Pat Smith ( P). Sophomore: Jimmy Brady (1B-SS-P).

Outlook: Fivelson takes over a team that had issues late last year. Fivelson will look to count on a senior class with many juniors that will make contributions as well. Keep on an eye on sophomore Jimmy Brady. Conant will look to senior Brian Polaski and junior Luke Downey to handle the bulk of the pitching load. Junior Anthony Forte (three-year varsity starter) is expected to lead the offense. "I expect to be solid top to bottom in the order," Fivelson said. "This team made strides last summer, improving on a dismal 2013 campaign. I believe I've picked a very solid first team. They mesh well together, work hard, and understand what it will take to be successful. The boys are a lot of fun and have made my transition taking over the program a smooth one."

Fremd Coach: Chris Piggott (12th season, 209-153)

Last year: 20-12, 11-5 (2nd in MSL West, regional champion)

Key losses: Alec Dompke, Jon Escobar (all-area, Holy Cross), Matt Isola (all-area), Brian Jestice (Evansville), Greg Money, Tim Polak, Jun Shinohara, Randy Wilt, Eric Gile

Returnees: Seniors: Dylan Fisher (2B), Matt Gura (3B), Ausitn Jetel (1B-P), Ryan Lenahan (1B), Marcus Middlebrook (SS), Dan Montgomery (OF), Jack Miller (P-OF). Juniors: Mack Rosman (P-OF)

Newcomers: Kaz Higuchi (MIF), Anthony Douvris (P), Alex Stremel (P), Michael Pautler (MIF), Robert D'Adrea (OF), Jeff Gill (OF), Danny Hermetet (2B), Joe Uhrich (3B), Dan Pinderski (OF-P), Tom Ausitn (C-3B), Ian Bohn (C), Ryan Allen (P), Jack Hanson (OF), Cody Patenaude (OF).

Outlook: The Vikings lost a ton to graduation and injuries have already taken their toll with the loss of seniors Sam Beutler and Andrew Stark. But the Vikes will count on Northwestern recruit Rosman along with Butler-bound Jetel and Middlebrook, who batted .302 last year and moved from second to short this year. "I think that we will have a pretty good squad this year," Piggott said. "We had a good summer and lots of kids stepped up. There are still a lot of unknowns and unproven players, but we will be athletic. Our pitching staff will be solid and we should hit pretty well. The biggest question is our defense. We struggled picking up the ball at times last year and I have a feeling the same might be true this year because of lack of field time."

Hoffman EstatesCoach: Todd Meador (15th season 200-245)

Last year: 12-19 6-10 (4th in MSL West)

Key losses: Jimmy Ward (all area), Zack Hommowun, Justin Frame, Brandon Weidner, Chris Eisele

Returnees: Seniors: Ethan Bloom (all-area 3B-P), Brad Demmon ( P-3B), Keegan Mugerditchian (C), Zak Lewandowski (1B), Jack Kelley (P), Sajan Sharma (OF), Trevor Pye ( 2B). Junior: Jeff Mayes (SS-P)

Newcomers: Senior: Chris Mester (OF). Juniors: Brandon Harris (OF), Matt Roesch (3B-P-OF), CJ Conway (C-P), Doug Rathje (CF), Devin Willis (3B), Owen Sturgeon (C-1B). Sophomores: Ryan Ward (P), Stephan Bonill (OF).

Outlook: The Hawks will fly as high as fourth-year varsity player Ethan Bloom, who has committed to Lewis University, can take them. The talented Bloom hit .386 with 6 home runs and was 4-4 on the mound. He will get help from Mugerditchian, who hit .295 last year along with seniors Demmon and Pye while junior Mayes will be a factor as well. But Hoffman needs to replace Ward, who fanned 56 last year and Hommowun, who hit .347 last season. The Hawks enter the season with some new faces and some youth, but also with a great deal of energy and optimism. "This junior group has such a positive and competitive approach to each practice and it ends up raising the level of team energy and enthusiasm," Meador said. "As bad as the weather has been, our overall team morale has been strong and we are all excited to have the chance to play. Good weather and a playable field can't come soon enough; we just want to get started."

PalatineCoach: Paul Belo (11th season, 205-186)

Last year: 21-15, 10-6 (3rd place, MSL West)

Key losses: Jarrod Juskiewicz, Greg Grana, Anthony Fortunato, Nick Refka, Neal ori, Matt Hogan, Bill Stewart, Andy Macahon.

Returnees: Seniors: Zach Serna (3B), Matt Saltess (2B), Andrew Bohlmann (OF), Nolan Gavin (P), Matt Trembly (P), Dan Ryan (P). Juniors: Chris Macahon (SS), Nick Orlando (OF)

Newcomers: Zander Breytenbach (P), Patrick Seeberger (P), Trace Holloway (P), Mike Stacy (P), Ryan Petersen (P). Sophomore: Chris Refka (P), Matt Lamm (P-OF)

Outlook: Belo and the Pirates welcome back 5 starters including seniors Serna, who hit .315 last year; Saltess, Gavin, who was 7-game winner and Bohlman along with Macahon (SS). Also leading the Pirates is Orlando and Stacy. Along with Gavin on the mound, the Pirates will be returning LHP Trembley and sidewinder Ryan. Gavin possess the most amount of innings coming back. The staff is also deep in junior arms, featuring Zander Breytenbach, Patrick Seeberger, Trace Holloway, Mike Stacy and Ryan Petersen. Rounding out the staff is sophomore right hander Refka and LHP Lamm. "Macahon possesses the ability to be one of the best shortstops in the area," Belo said. "He displays great range, reliable hands and an accurate throwing arm."

SchaumburgCoach: Cal Seely (2nd season, 8-16)

Last year: 8-16 (4th in MSL West)

Key losses: Alec Wagner, Kyle Reinhart, Ryan Zell, Joe Petritis, Brayden Teele (Aurora) Max Paolicchi (Millikin), Omar Sandoval

Returnees: Seniors: Michael Fan (all-area, 1B), Jack Holden (LF-P), Brad Schwind (CF-P), Dylan Roskin (RF-P), Josh Rahn (RF-P), Ryan Woloszyk (3B), Joe Franz (SS), Kyler Bruner (2B), Connor Quinn (C), Johnnie Flynn (P), Jeffrey Barrash (P)

Newcomers: Juniors: Jack Wagner (LF), Christian Spitelli (CF), Brendan Beck (3B-P), Jared Lingl (3B-P), Eric Glombicki (SS), Alex Kiszkowksi (2B-P), Christian Paulson (2B-P), Ryan Schocker (1B-P), Tyler Teele (C). Sophomore: Jack Bellinger (1B-P).

Outlook: Senior-dominated, the Saxons return 8 of 9 starters and had a very successful summer league, ranked second in the sectional. Schaumburg is looking to get back on track after a disappointing season last year in which it played the fewest number of games in nearly 20 years. The senior group is led by Fan, who was all-area last year and hit .391. Holden (.377), Woloszyk (.315), Roskin (.315) will also bring some firepower to the offense. They could get some added power from Brendan Beck, Tyler Teele, and Alex Kiszkowski. Look for sophomore Jack Bellinger, who will also add the strength of the Schaumburg pitching staff. "We are looking to prove that we can be a competitive team day in and day out," Seely said.

CENTRAL SUBURBAN NORTHMaine WestCoach: Joe Pederson (8th season 119-92)

Last year: 10-22, 7-9 (4th CSL North)

Key losses: Tom Kukec, Scott Costello, Raul Anaya

Returnees: Seniors: Matt Swanson (P), Geoff Duckmann (INF), Austin Jablenski (P-INF), Junior Torio (P), Robert Andrade (OF), Chris Selgrad (OF), Junior Crosley Duckmann (P-INF). Sophomore Eric Outlaw (INF), Jake Riportella (INF).

Newcomers; Juniors: Rob Yost (P), Kyle Divelbiss (OF), Brandon Starbeck (INF), Sean Russell (INF) Sophomores: Dan Johnston (P-INF), Joe Swanson (C)

Outlook: The Warriors are looking to rebound from last year, playing in the tough CSL North. Despite the hit they took from graduation, Maine West looks to have some experience. "We graduated quite a few kids and are young," Pederson said. "But the kids have responded well and our chemistry is outstanding." The warriors will look to pitcher Matt Swanson to eat up inning and get some wins. "We had a problem scoring runs for him last year," Pederson said. But we like to have the ball in his hands. When he steps on the mound we have a chance to win."

EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLICSt. ViatorCoach: Mike Manno (9th season, 142-143)

Last year: 19-15, 11-5 (2nd place ESCC)

Key losses: Gunnar Kay (Dallas Baptist), Patrick Martin (all-area, Heartland CC), Greg Steiner (St. Norbert), Ryan VanStedum, Adam Naliwajko (Webster), Michael Krueger, Roy Pettingill (Webster), Andrew Ferrante (all-area, ), Joe Rossi (UIC), Charlie Meyer, Cole Fulton, Harry McCollum, Mike McGrath.

Returnees: Seniors: Matt Prazuch (OF), Bobby Calmeyn (3B), Joe Brandt (1B), Jack McNamara (2B), Jack Napoleon (OF), Jack McElroy (P), Mike Piet (P), Pete Meyer (C-P), Matt O'Neill (OF), Robbie Jaydos (C-P). Junior: Ben Dickey (OF).

Newcomers Juniors: Matt Levin (INF), Nick Pugesek (OF), Mack Rooney (C), Tom Gaffney (P), Matt Darling (2B), Kevin Monson (SS), Ron Bailitz (OF), Joe McCollum (OF-1B), Xander Landy (1B), Jason Wilhite (P), Andrew Borto (DH), Aaron Tres (P-C-3B), Trusten Annin (1B), George Burny (P), Colin Perry (P), Jordan Degrenier (P).

Outlook: Graduation hit the Lions hard, especially on the mound where they lost 210 innings of the 235 innings pitched last year. Offensively, Dickey, Prazuch and Calmeyn return to give the Lions some pop. While most teams will be off the next week, the Lions get a head start on all their competition with their bi-annual trip. After going to California two years ago and going 5-1, the Lions head to North Carolina to see how they will fair. "We are a fairly inexperienced team with an outstanding work ethic," Manno said. "We only return two starters from last year, but I believe this group will compete every game. Our strengths comes on the defensive end and speed throughout the lineup. In all my years, this group has really bought into the Viator way. Really excited to see how they finish at the end of the season."

NORTHEASTERN ATHLETICChristian Liberty AcademyCoach: Jed Bennett (4th season 20-57)

Last year: 13-13 6-4 (3rd in NAC, Class 1A regional champ)

Key losses: Juan Pagan, Dan Glad, Dave Colbert, Shawn Anderson, Jonathan Dulinsky

Returnees: Seniors: Aaron Karr (P, IF), Aaron Cunningham (1B), Brendan Brosnan (OF), Juniors: Tenyu Aikawa (P). Sophomores: Peter Grob (2B, OF), Tim Laskowski (OF) (.405 Ave, 8 RBI, 5 R)

Newcomers: Senior: Dylan Antonides (P, OF), Junior: Tom Keplar (P, IF), Sophomore: Tommy Froman (2B). Freshmen: Aiden Miller (C ), Aaron Rot (P, 3B), Mark Cabrera (P, SS)

Outlook: CLA is coming off its best team in the school's history winning where they won the most games (13) and their first regional title. Now the Eagles look for more with their nucleus in tact from that team. Karr, who hit .324 and had a 3.77 ERA returns, along with Cunningham (.297) and sophomores Grob (.302) and Laskowski (.405). "We should be competing towards the top of our conference again this year," Bennet said. "Last year the top 4-5 teams played a lot of 1- 2 run games and I expect the same this year. We are also hoping to do some more damage in the post season this year."

WEST SUBURBAN GOLDLeydenCoach: Rob Hamann (3rd season 26-36)

Last year: 8-20, 4th in WSGC

Key losses: Ivan Nevarez, Mike Szopinski, Brandon Aguirre, Anthony Aleman, Joe Motyka, Jose Trevino

Returnees: Seniors: Mark Stephens (SS), Hector Herrera (P-INF), Brian Mackey (P-INF), Zack Johnson (P), Eddy Valenzuela (1B)

Newcomers: Juniors: Charlie Zapata (P-INF), Zack Seymore (P-1B), Jacob Nunez (INF), Matt Patronski (OF)

Outlook: Pitching should be a strength for the Eagles with a rotation of Herrera, who had a 3.46 ERA last year, Johnson, who did not give up an earned run in 12 innings last year, Mackey, Zapata and Seymour. Mark Stephens, who is headed to Beloit College next year, hit .273 a year ago. The Eagles won their summer regional and are looking for more this Spring. "We are coming off of a summer where we won our regional and competed against the best teams in the state," Hamann said. "This is a great group of hard working players We think we can compete for a conference title."

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