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  • Elk Grove's Christian Camacho, left, high-fives Chuck Fleming last season. Both players return for the MSL champs this spring.

      Elk Grove's Christian Camacho, left, high-fives Chuck Fleming last season. Both players return for the MSL champs this spring.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Pitching standout Brooks Gosswein delivers last season for Barrington.

      Pitching standout Brooks Gosswein delivers last season for Barrington.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent

MID SUBURBAN EASTBuffalo GroveCoach: Tim Miller (2nd year, 16-21)

Last year: 16-21 (4th place MSL East)

Key losses: Justin Hasek (Galveston College), Adam Apel, Trey Cervantes

Returnees: Seniors: Ben Moran, LF; Joe Pinakidis, CF; Justin Meyer, P. Juniors: John Carpinelli, SS/P; Tyler Rundquist, C; John Lundgren, OF/P. Soph: Jack Vaselaney, P.

Newcomers: Seniors: Cedric Cavazos, C; Eric Merker, OF; Cooper Hays, P; Connor Burhop, P; Kurt Kelly, INF; Kevin Hanson, INF; Chris Fox, P. Juniors: Jack Churchill, 1B/P; Leo Rule, OF; Mike Gran, INF; Chase Marsh, INF, Soph.: Zach Fricke, 2B/3B/P: Mac Camardo, 1B/P, Rio Komatani. OF/P.

Outlook: It was an up and down year last season for Miller and the Bison, who hope to change their fortunes with a successful trip to Florida to start the season. BG welcomes back Pinakidas, who has been solid for two season for the Bison, along with outfielder Moran and sophomore pitcher Vaselaney. "The team has worked extremely hard in the off-season and we have great team chemistry," Miller said. "We are a young group and we are excited for the upcoming season and are looking forward to getting off to a good start."

Elk GroveCoach: Terry Beyna (17th season, 283-260)

Last year: 22-9, (1st place in MSL East, MSL Champion)

Key losses: Matt Wary (Wisconsin-Whitewater), Sean Fege (College of Lake County), Brandon Post (Lewis University), Austin Shallcross (Murray State)

Returnees: Seniors: Christian Camacho, RHP/SS; Jonathan Maday, P; Joe Lopez, P; Jack McEnroe, C; Chuck Fleming, 2B; AJ Lorenz,1B.

Newcomers: Juniors: Ryan Uehara,CF; AJ Navarro, LF/INF; Joe Leone, P; Brett Taucher, P. Soph: Tyler Selvig, RF/P.

Outlook: Two-time defending MSL conference champs Elk Grove look for a three-peat with a trio of senior pitchers. Camacho, who is committed to Auburn, and Maday, who has committed to Wisconsin-Oshkosh, will be joined by the hard-throwing Lopez to give the Grens experience and depth from the bump. Elk Grove has experience in the field with McEnroe. An all-area choice last year at first base, he has committed to Wisconsin-Oshkosh and has moved behind the plate. Lorenz, who has committed to Carroll College, takes over at first while SIU commit Fleming will be a stalwart at second. "Our pitching and experience should be a key to our season," Benya said. "We will look for improvement in our team as the season goes on and hope to play our best baseball down the stretch."

HerseyCoach: Bob Huber (22th season, 411-422)

Last year: 11-21 (5th MSL East)

Key losses: Ryan Allain (Florida Tech), Charlie Dempsey, Zac Durec, Tucker Fenwick, Will Goldsberry, Kris Plough (Goshen College), Nick Zouras (Illinois State), Max Heeren, Campbell White, Will Trossen.

Returnees: Seniors: Brett Harris, SS; Paul Tokar, 3B; Matt Johnson, P/OF; Tanner Luke P/1B; Luke Lasalvia, P/OF; Buzz Lindgren, P/OF; Jim Mijal, P/OF; Adam Schliesmann, P/OF.

Newcomers: Juniors: Matt Abfall, OF; Tom Barnes, 2B/OF; Zach Blevins, OF; Alberto Garcia, OF; Quinn Gaudatis, P; Tyler Haffey, C; Mark Losacco, P; Andrew Berg, C/OF; Soph: Chris Rodriguez,1B/3B; Cade Oneal, 2B; Owen Goldsberry, OF.

Outlook: Harris, who hit .400 and was all-conference last year, looks to lead the Huskies back from a disappointing season. Johnson will lead a staff that includes Luke, Lasalvia, Lindgren, Mijal and Schliesmann, who looks to bounce back after an injury last year. The Huskies will play in a spring trip to Georgia this year. "If we throw it well and catch it well, we have a very good chance this year," Huber said.

ProspectCoach: Ross Giusti (19th season 380-250)

Last year: 27-8 (1st, MSL East)

Key losses: Cliff Arnoux, Jake Cavaiani, Trey Compton, Jack Courtney, Tyler Damasky, Sean Delacruz, Dan Devereux (Washington University), Pat Donohue (Valparaiso), Nick Donzelli, Lucas Karz, Grant Miller, Matt Nadler, Mike Piotrowski (Dominican), Justin Placko, Willie Sampson.

Returnees: Seniors: Ryan Molini, C/P; Brendan O'Brien, P/OF; Pasquele Atteo, P; Jake Aumueler, OF; Travis Gates, INF, Jake Arndt, P; Luke Wrede,1B; Tyler; Engquist, 1B SR

Newcomers: Juniors: Grant Zellmer,3B; John Morgan, Inf; Ben Courtney OF/P; Tim Krause, OF/P; Grant Whitebloom, OF; Ryan Roggeman, Inf. JR Soph: Ryan Howe, INF; Anthony Catalano, Inf; Richie Bazcek, OF/P; John Cyzlowski, P/Inf; Adrian Perez, Inf;

Outlook: Although graduation took a huge toll on the Knights, the cupboard isn't really that bare. Prospect will look at Atteo and Molini. Who both threw quite a bit last season. The offense is a still untested, but the Knights still have a nice summer session. "We are encouraged with our pitching and defense right now," Giusti said. "We have kids that throw strikes, and we have demonstrated making the routine plays. Any offense we get that exceeds our expectations will certainly give this team an edge."

Rolling MeadowsCoach: Jim Lindeman (14th season, 229-222)

Last year: 7-27 (6th, MSL East)

Key losses: Brett Gibson, Jack O'Neil, Sean O'Brien, Ryan Differding, Terry Moran (Roosevelt)

Returnees: Seniors: Ryan Laboda, INF-P; Luka Pavlakis, OF; Ellis Shalton, OF/P; Mark Dillon Inf/P; Trent McNally, Inf/P; Alex Rezny, Inf/P; Hank Holm, C

Newcomers: Juniors: George Bravos, Inf/P; Frank Storniolo, Inf/OF; Don Mrofcza, OF/P; Jack Lincoln, Inf/P; Justin Thompson, OF/P; Marco Perez, Inf/P; Mark Nolan, Inf/OF.

Outlook: It was a young Mustang squad last year with 11 juniors on the roster. Lindeman hopes that his team learned from last season and is ready for a new campaign. But to do that, the Mustangs will have to overcome their issue at depth. "We are not very deep and we hope to improve our compete level on a day-by-day basis," Lindeman said. "Hopefully we will swing the bat better than last year which will result in a few more wins on the season."

WheelingCoach: Jason Wieder (3rd season, 35-62)

Last year: 10-21 (4th place, MSL East)

Key losses: Brenden Spillane (Illinois), Nathan Cooney, (2X DH All-Area), Jake Jordan, Martin Falkiner, Brian Lorey, Matt Vollmer.

Returnees: Seniors: Christian Hubbard, C; Alex Khatcherian, OF; Ryan Caulfield P, Patrick Ryan, P; Anthony Carrillo, Inf/OF; James Kroschel. Soph: Drew Roberts (LF/C)

Newcomers: Juniors: Mike Wiase, 1B; Bryan Niznik, SS; Brian Maloney, P/3B; Jack Splett, 2B, Sean Straub, P. Soph: Kyle Bullock, CF; Nate Dirkes, P; DJ Godlewski, 2B.

Outlook: The Wildcats will be looking to rebuild this year after losing their top six starters, including their infield. Wheeling will look to build behind catcher Christian Hubbard, who has committed to Benedictine, and Khatcherian, who is a North Central College Commit. The Cats also get some strong work on the mound from 6-foot-3 Caufield and 6-4 Dirkes. Wheeling will play in Orlando this spring, and Wieder hopes his team can shake off some early season jitters. "We are going to be very young and inexperienced this season," Wider said. "But we have a lot of high character young men on the team that work hard and are committed to getting better."

NORTHEASTERN ATHLETICChristian Liberty AcademyCoach: Jed Bennett (6th season 42-87) Last year: 11-13, (5rd in NAC)

Key losses: Tom Kepler

Returnees: Seniors: Chris Hoffmann, P/C/IF; Tim Laskowski, OF; Peter Grob, 1B. Juniors: Jake Ringstrand, OF; Aiden Miller, C/P; Jimmy Cunningham, P/IF; Mark Cabrera, P/IF. Soph: Ben Law, OF

Newcomers: Seniors: Jimmy Calkins, P/IF; Diego Cardenas, OF.

Outlook: This is the kind of team Bennett and CLA have been waiting for. The Eagles are a senior-laden group and loaded with talent with Grob, Miller and Laskowski. Add in juniors and Cunningham and Cabrera and there could be good things on the horizon for them. "Last year we had a young team that had its ups and downs, but gained a ton of valuable experience at the varsity level," Bennett said. "This year we hope to use that experience along with another year of growth to see how far we can get in conference and the state series."

WEST SUBURBAN GOLDLeydenCoach: Rob Hamann (5th season 44-81) Last year: 10-21, 4th in WSGC

Key losses: Tom Szopinski, Zac Seymore, Hector Herrera.

Returnees: Seniors: Jeremey Borges, Kevin Nevarez, Michael Wilms, Robert Wisnewski, Adrian Perez, Matt Bach

Newcomers: Juniors: Ben Hoffman, P/INF; Josh Cubon, P/OF; Justin Borges, P/INF; Sebastian Nowicki; P; Dominic Fredrickson, C; Brian Szopinski, INF.

Outlook: It was a tough year for the Eagles last season. But a new year brings optimism with the return of Jeremy Borges, who hit .417 last year. Nevarez, who hit .300 and Wilms, who hit .295, also return. "This is a young team that is ready to succeed this year," Hamann said. "A strong core of returning seniors will be pushed hard by a junior class that is ready to have an impact at the varsity level."

CENTRAL SUBURBAN NORTHMaine WestCoach: Joe Pederson (10th season 154-124)

Last year: 18-15, (4th CSL North)

Key losses: Crosley Duckmann (Carthage), Rob Yost (Oakton), Kyle Divelbiss (Iowa Wesleyan)

Returnees: Joe Swanson, C; Dan Zymell, C; Troy Johnson, INF; Eric Outlaw, SS; Dan Johnston, P/INF; Bradly Uidl, INF; Sean Russell, INF; Jake Riportella, OF; Isaiah Riveria, OF; Brandon Smith, P; Terry Hatfield, P; Terry Cusack, P; Dan Brennan, P. Juniors: Alex Zimmerman, INF; Sam Kindle, P

Newcomers: Juniors: Jeremy Gonzalez, P; Brian Bojarski, P; Matt Willett, P; Max Rothweiler, OF; Nick Stone, OF; Jeff Mustari, INF. Soph: Cory Scholler, OF; Matt Johnston, UTL. Fresh: Jacob Cabral, OF.

Outlook: Last year was a turning point for the Warriors, who made it to the regional final before bowing out to Oak Park. Pederson looks to build off of that with a squad that is led by Outlaw, Riportella, Russell and Swanson. "We have a blend of youth and experience this year and anything can happen," Pederson said. "There is great leadership with this group and hopefully this will push us in the right direction."

MID-SUBURBAN WESTBarringtonCoach: Pat Wire (4th season, 72-34)

Last year: 24-11 (1st in MSL West)

Key losses: Mitch Pfeiffer (Illinois Weslyan), Jake Coon (Washington University), Jake Petersen (College of Lake County), Anthony Delaurentis, Casey Dodge (Illinois), Luke Johnson (McKendree) Dane Meier, Andrew Stopka (North Central)

Returnees: Seniors: Jimmy Day, 3B; Jacob Chapman, 1B; Pat Denhert, P/1B; Jake Zyzda, P/OF; Zach Balogh, SS. Junior: Brooks Gosswein, P/OF

Newcomers: Senior: Tristan Michaels , 2B Juniors: Will Yorton, OF; Jeff Korus, OF; Blake Swanson, 3B; Collin Starvel, C.; Ryan Loutos, P. Soph: Tyler Acosta, CF

Outlook: The Broncos have won the West title for the past three seasons, and despite 20-plus victories in each of those seasons, there is a feeling that there is still something missing. Barrington has not won a MSL championship or a regional title during that stretch. But Wire feels this group can overcome all that. "This is the most talent I have had here," Wire said. "And the kids are working hard to achieve their goals." The Broncos boast a trio of pitchers that will be tough to beat this year in Gosswein, Zyzda and Loutos, with Gosswein and Loutos already cracking the 90-mph barrier. Evansville recruit Day, Swanson (who will be headed to Rollins along with Chapman), Denhert and Balogh are all proven at the plate, giving Barrington an opportunity to score lots of runs.

ConantCoach: Derek Fivelson (2nd year 32-36)

Last year: 20-15 (2nd place MSL West)

Key losses: Anthony Forte (Tulane), Matt Fauth (Western Illinois), Pat Smith (Heartland College), Luke Downey, Mike Mazurek

Returnees: Seniors: Nick Roberts, C; Jimmy Brady, SS; Jim McGlaughlin, P/RF; Jack Lunkes, LF; Matt Mills, P/OF; Nick Sbertoli, 2B; Ryan Roberts, P,Inf; Joe Sekulich, P/1B; Dan Hafer, P; Astihiro Fukuda, P; Josh Pozniak, P; Soph: Jack Reiger, 3B.

Newcomers: Juniors: CJ Deshazer, CF; Ian Taylor, P; Cody Gale, Inf; Kevin Sindiwald, P; Chase Fahy, P; Logan Smith, OF; Tim Fauth, 1B. Soph: Mason Sykes, 1B.

Outlook: Fivelson will have to replace lots of offense with the loss of Forte and Fauth. But the Cougars have Bradley commit Roberts to pick up the slack along with Nick Roberts and Lunkes and Reiger. McGlaughlin, who is committed to Benedictine, will be the go-to guy on the mound along with Mills and Ryan Roberts. "Although we lost two of our main bats from last year's team, the other seven spots in the lineup are experienced varsity players ready to step out of the shadows," Fivelson said. "This is my most complete team since taking over at Conant."

FremdCoach: Chris Piggott (13th season, 241-185)

Last year: 16-16 (3nd in MSL West)

Key losses: Mack Rosman (Northwestern), Ian Bohn (University of Chicago), Tom Austin (Concordia Univ St. Paul), Kaz Higuchi, Alex Stremel, Cody Patenaude, Danny Hermetet, Joe Uhrich, Dan Pinderski

Returnees: Seniors: Justin Castillo, P/3B; Charlie Kaye, 3B; Jared Swenson, P; Troy Hajdukovic, C; Jack Molnar,OF/P; Joe Smaga, P/OF; JT Kolderup, P/DH; Jake LaGasse,, OF; Ethan Hajdukovic, 1B/OF/P.

Newcomers: Senior: Christian Phillips, 1B Juniors: Eric Bennes, P/2B; Alec Honickel, OF; Mark Bechtold, 2B; Nate Hill, C; Tommy Josten, MIF; Zach Goodman, P/2B; Tom Narey, P/3B; Yosh Kurata, P. Soph: Tommy Wingen, SS

Outlook: After back-to-back .500 seasons, the Vikings are looking to break on through to the other side. To get them there Piggott's team will need to score runs, something that has eluded his squad the past two years. "We have struggled hitting the last few years and pitching has kept us in games," Piggott said. "We only have a few returning starters so we will be mostly unproven. We have a lot of quality arms that will pound the zone, but our defense will have to play solid."

Hoffman EstatesCoach: Todd Meador (17th season 229-277)

Last year: 15-14 6-10 (5th in MSL West)

Key losses: Jeff Mayes (Aurora University), Brandon Harris, Doug Rathje, Devin Willis, CJ Conway, Matt Roesch, Will Herbert, Owen Sturgeon, Stefan Bonilla

Returnees: Seniors: Ryan Ward, P; Ryan Davalos, P; Junior: Lucas Barnes, P.

Newcomers: Senior: Luke Kulton, OF/P; Ryan Kulton, OF/P; Nate Magers, OF; Brian Mester, MIF; Brendan Kramp, 1B/P; Kevin Howell, C; Zach Dressler, MI; Marc Gonzalez, CF/P; Nick Pietraszak, OF/C; Anthony Barbato, OF/P. Junior: Lucas Barnes, 3B/P. Soph: Dylan Bloom, OF/3B; Jonathon Keller, SS/P.

Outlook: The bad news for Hoffman is that graduation took its toll on the Hawks. But the good news is that their three top starters are back, and that could mean difficulty for Hoffman's opponents. Ward, who will attend Lewis University next season, will lead the staff along with Davalos and Barnes. Still, it will be a senior-dominated class that Meador will count on. We lost a very talented group of seniors to graduation last year," Meador said. "There will still be many quality players competing very hard for these positions. The competition for these spots seems to be bringing out the best in all of the players in our practices." This will be Meador's last year as head coach of the Hawks after announcing his resignation following this season earlier this week.

PalatineCoach: Paul Belo (13th season, 241-221)

Last year: 15-20, (4th place, MSL West)

Key losses: Chris Macahon (Mesa Community College), Zander Breytenbach (Indiana Wesleyan), Patrick Seeberger, (North Central), Anderew Breytenbach, (Indiana Wesleyan)

Returnees: Seniors: Matt Lamm, OF/P; Chris Refka, P/OF; Danny Schneberger, 1B/3B; Charlie Van Dyke, P/INF; Ryan Anderson., P/DH; Juniors: Zach Oles, 3B; Jack Grochowski, P/OF; John Weber, OF/P. )

Newcomers: Seniors: Anthony Portera, MIF; Kosta Plevritis, MIF. Juniors: Trevor Lyons, C; Daniel Schneberger, 1B/3B; Soph: Jack Hopper, SS; Evan Daly, P/OF; Max Myszka, P/OF; Brent Penrose, P/1B; Freshman: Jake Andersen, C

Outlook: The Pirates hope to turn things around this season, especially at the plate. Palatine returns six starters, including Lamm, who has been a three-year starter for Belo. Palatine also has five pitchers who amassed 104 innings last season. Besides Lamm, Belo looks to Oles, Refka, Van Dyke, Grochowski and Schneberger to pick up that offensive slack. The Pirates also have plenty of depth, with multiple players who can play two or more positions. "This is a lineup that has a balance between speed and power," Belo said.

SchaumburgCoach: Cal Seely (4th season, 46-38)

Last year: 19-13, (4th in MSL West)

Key losses: Jared Lingl, Alex Kiszkowski (Lewis University), Brendan Beck (Fontbonne University), Tyler Teele, Christian Spitelli, Christian Poulsen (Harper)

Returnees: Seniors: Tommy Larsen, 3B; Jacob Rintz, SS; Chris Broccolino, 2B; Parker Nolan, 1B/P; Jack Bellinger, 1B/P; Jaeden Bruner, C; Tony Olson, P/OF; Andrew Ralston P/OF; David Tornabene, OF.

Newcomers: Seniors: Max Miller, Sr, 3B/P; Jack McCoy, 2B; Nick Pentz, P/2B; Kevin Carpenter, OF; Josh Rivera,OF. Juniors: Vinny Kandefer, SS; Tyler Fredrickson, Jr, 1B. Sophomore: Justin Schoefernacker, P

Outlook: After sharing the MSL West two seasons ago, Schaumburg took a small step back last year, but still managed to finish with a winning record. This year the Saxons expect to get back to where they belong with a senior-dominated team led by Bellinger, one of the area's top hurlers. Larsen, Rintz and Broccolino should give the Saxons plenty of offense. "We will be right in the thick of things," Seeley said. We have solid returning pitching and strong leadership."

EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLICSt. ViatorCoach: Mike Manno (10th season, 188-171)

Last year: 23-14, (3rd place ESCC)

Key losses: Ben Dickey (Northwestern), Kevin Monson (Hillsdale College), Matt Darling, George Burny, Aaron Tres, Jason Wilhite, Matt Levin, Mac Rooney, Nick Pugesek, Tom Gaffney, Ron Bailitz, Joe McCollum, Alexander Landy, Andrew Borto, Trusten Annin.

Returnees: Seniors: Dan Sullivan, 1B; Cole Kmet, P/OF; Kevin Napoleon, P; Jack Coney, SS; Shaun Falbo, C; Mike Ragauskis, OF

Newcomers: Seniors: Jack Sexton, Inf; ; Mike O'Neill, OF; Chris Lolli, OF; Kyle Hammarlund, P; Tony Nagle, P; Tyler Landoch, P. Juniors: Bobby Perna, P/Inf; Alex Prazuch, Inf/OF; , Brett DeSelm, P/1B; John Finnegan, Brad McCullough, OF; Joe Sarnello, OF; Vince Burdi, OF; Jack Heneghan, P; Sean McAteer, P. Soph: Timmy Alfonso, 2B; Bryce Hellgeth, 3B/C.

Outlook: After moving back down to 3A this year, the Lions are setting their sights on a deep postseason run. They boast a solid rotation with Napolean, Falbo, Kmet, Landoch, Nagle and DeSelm and back that up with relievers Hammarlund, Ragauskis, Heneghan, McAteer, Perna and Alfonso. Although they may not be a threat to run as much as they did in previous years, Viator can bang it with Sullivan, Kmet, Falbo Ragauskis and Purdue-bound Coney. The Lions, who head to Arizona to start their season, also figure to compete for the ESCC title. "We play and focus on one game at a time," Manno said. "The baseball season is such a grind that it does not do us any good to look ahead."

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