Lake County baseball notes: Warren, Antioch off to fast starts

The Warren baseball team is tearing it up collectively as a unit and individually.

The Blue Devils started the week 7-1 and went 5-1 over spring break.

During its spring trip, Warren defeated downstate Marion, which was ranked sixth in the state. Evan Larson led Warren on the trip with a .500 batting average, followed closely by Jacob Gonzalez hitting .429 and Anthony Font hitting .385. Team captain Charlie Badgley hit .316 and led the team with 6 RBI. Fellow team captain Adam Behrens went 2-0 on the mound.

Larson, Gonzalez, Badgley, Tommy Beardman, Jack Corelis and Brian Buchert were all named "La Bamba players of the game," which is the highest honor for the Mountain Dew Spring Classic played at Mtn Dew Ballpark in Marion, located east of Carbondale and home to Prospect League's Thrillville Thrillbillies.

Speaking of Badgley, in the first two games of the season he went 10-for-10 with 8 singles, 2 doubles, 9 runs scored, 7 RBI and 4 stolen bases. He started the week hitting .545 with 16 RBI. "Charlie has been playing very well," coach Clint Smothers said.

Behrens has 16 strikeouts in 10 innings of work on the mound, while Gonzalez is hitting .455. Font hit .438 on the trip, while Larson is at .417. Warren, which opened North Suburban Conference play this week against Libertyville, has scored 85 runs in eight games.

Antioch: The Antioch baseball team also can't complain about the start of its 2023 season.

The Sequoits entered the week 4-0 after beating Woodstock 11-0 and Hoffman Estates 2-1 over the break.

"We have been getting contributions from everybody on our team," Antioch coach Frank Fracek said. "Our pitching has been lights out to this point."

Antioch's pitching staff gave up 6 runs (1 earned) in those first four games. The staff had a 0.64 ERA with 22 strikeouts in as many innings pitched through four games. Opponents were hitting .238. Dylan Feldkamp was 2-0 to start the week with a 0.78 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 9 innings pitched. "Dylan has been a monster on the mound," Fracek said.

TJ Schuyler was leading the way offensively, hitting .571 to start the week, while Anthony Sacchetti was at .417. "Anthony and TJ are leading the offensive charge," Fracek said.

Dawson Gutke has been a contributor out of the bullpen and also hit .500 through the first four games in limited at-bats. Nate Yeager has an on-base percentage of .385 and has played a strong left field, Fracek noted. Mason Willis was also lauded for his advancement at third base.

"It's a very small sample size, but our pitching has been our strength through four games," Fracek said. "If we continue to get these kinds of contributions, we are going to be a tough out."

Antioch opened Northern Lake County Conference play this week against Lakes.

Stevenson update: The Patriots turned things around in a hurry over spring break. Stevenson was 1-2 heading into the break after beating Glenbrook South and losing to Huntley and Notre Dame.

Stevenson then went 6-0 over the break, beating Dundee-Crown and Maroa-Forsyth at Millikin University before going 4-0 and winning the LH Ladd Memorial Tournament in Union City, Tennessee.

The Patriots have been led thus far by the likes of Chris Iannuzzi (.577, 1 homer, 10 RBI, 11 runs scored, 1.000 slugging), Brett Gaynor (10 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings, 1.80 ERA), Joe Dolenga (.545, 1 homer, 6 RBI, 2 doubles, 8 runs scored, 1.000 slugging), Joe Richardson (.370, 9 RBI, 2 doubles) and JR Nelson (.333, 3 doubles, 5 RBI).

"Brett Gaynor has been dominant on the mound," Stevenson coach Nick Skala said. "Chris Iannuzzi is red-hot and Nick Rayyan (4 games pitched, 9 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings, 2.42 ERA) has been a master in relief."

Round Lake update: The Panthers opened the week 1-1 so far. Ben Bleim struck out 15 batters in his first start against Alden-Hebron.

Offensively, Riley Walsh is hitting .500 with 2 runs scored and an RBI, while Ryan Cabral is hitting .400 with 3 RBI.

Lakes update: The Eagles stood at 2-4 after dropping a 4-2 NLCC contest to Antioch earlier in the week.

Lakes headed to southwest Missouri over break and played three varsity games and two junior-varsity games, going 1-2 in the varsity contests.

"We were able to play at some incredible fields, which was a great experience for our team," Lakes coach Chris Hoffman said. "This was a long-awaited trip because it was the first trip we were able to take since the pandemic started."

Returning junior Jaden Jackson was hitting .471 with 4 RBI through the first six games. He's also been a key performer for Lakes on the mound, logging 12 1/3 innings so far.

Returning senior Cayden Hart is hitting .357 with 4 RBI, while sophomore Owen Klosinski is hitting .438. Hoffman also likes how Mason Stiegleiter and Spencer Kennamann have performed in the middle of the lineup. Stiegleiter is hitting .300, while Spencer is at .294.

"Mason and Spencer have been solid contributors in the middle of our lineup," Hoffman noted.

Lake Zurich update: The Bears, who started NSC action this week against Stevenson, opened the week with a 3-2 record.

Lake Zurich defeated Prospect 8-2 and Barrington 4-0 and then headed to Knoxville, Tennessee to play in the Clinch River Challenge.

Will Crawford pitched a complete-game shutout against Barrington and Ryan Kodrad went 7-for-8 with 3 doubles in the two contests.

Kondrad, a junior third baseman, is hitting .533 with 3 doubles and 6 RBI on the season, while Lucas Foley, a pitcher-outfielder, is 2-0 with a 0.88 ERA and had 18 strikeouts against zero walks to start the week.

"Ryan and Lucas have looked great," Lake Zurich coach Scott DeCaprio said. "Jonathan Fleaka, our junior shortstop, has done well, as has Cash Kazmarcek (sophomore outfielder) leading off."

DeCaprio said the spring break trip was a success.

"We had a fun trip," he said. "We were able to tour the University of Tennessee, walking onto the football field and inside the baseball team's complex. We had no tours planned. We met some very accommodating people down there. We went 1-2, but played really good ball beating the host Anderson County on their 'in-school game.' They let their school out to come watch the game, so it was a huge crowd on a beautiful day."

Lake Zurich lost to Powell 4-0, which took third in Tennessee last year, "but played well," DeCaprio noted. "We also lost to the No. 1-seeded team in their 2A division. It was a fun trip that brought the team together."

Mundelein update: The Mustangs were 5-2 to start off the week, which included a 2-2 mark on their spring break trip to Tennessee. The two out-of-town losses came against private schools from different states.

Michael Farina is leading the way for Mundelein, hitting .688 with 8 singles and 3 doubles. Kenny Nanos has 14 strikeouts on the mound against 1 walk in 6 1/3 innings of work. He has a 2.21 ERA. Bennett Musser has 10 strikeouts (only 2 walks) in 5 innings and sports a 1.40 ERA.

"Kenny has been pitching well and Bennett has also pitched well," Mundelein coach Randy Lerner said.

Grayslake Central update: The Rams headed to Orlando over spring break and played a total of eight games (4 varsity and 4 JV). The Central varsity went 2-2 "against some solid competition, which included Florida schools that have been playing for weeks," coach Troy Whalen said.

The Rams were 3-3 overall to start the week.

"Our annual Florida trip really does provide us with a true spring training-like experience," Whalen added. "We take 27 players down and it gives us a good five days to look at all the guy sand play them in multiple positions and different spots in the batting order. It's also really the first time the juniors and seniors are playing together in a high school season, so from a chemistry building standpoint, the games and what occurs away from the games on the trip helps to slowly build a foundation for the season."

Whalen noted, like any trip, there were ups and downs, "but it was sunny and 90 degrees every day so that's hard to beat," he said. "The kids get a three-day pass into Universal Studios and the game schedules allow them plenty of time to enjoy the park and adjoining water park. We had more than 20 families travel as well, so when you are playing it's awesome to see the green and white shine in Florida. It never gets old and is greatly appreciated by the coaches and players."

Senior pitcher Fikret Durmus picked up two of the team's three wins in relief. He's coming off Tommy John surgery, which caused him to miss all of 2022.

Senior outfielder Jack Gerbasi has an inside-the-park home run to his credit and his hitting over .400 on the young season.

Grayslake North update: The Knights started the week 4-2 overall and are scheduled to play a three-game series against town neighbor Grayslake Central this week.

North also headed to Orlando for spring break and went 3-1 there.

"The boys really enjoyed their time down there and the in-game action proved to be very valuable compared to if we would have stood around here," North coach Eric Lopez said. "In their free time, they visited the parks down at Disney."

The Knights have received strong pitching thus far from Casey Staver and Wyatt Dziekan. In 2 starts, Staver threw 8 innings and allowed only 1 run, while Dziekan gave up 3 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings over 2 starts.

"Our starting pitchers Wyatt and Casey have stood out, as well as relief pitchers Jimmy Filas and Jack Kerpan," Lopez said. "All have been extremely consistent and effective on the mound thus far. This is a testament to the hard work that they put in during the offseason."

Ethan Feldman was leading the way on offense, hitting .294 with a .429 on-base percentage.

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