Honored as co-pitcher of the year in the DuPage Valley Conference, the Falcons knew they could count on the senior on the mound. Bachar, however, also stepped up at the plate. He went 8-1 with 71 strikeouts and a 2.09 ERA and batted .342 with 3 homers and 35 RBI. "He was our best all-around player all year," coach Dan Schoessling said.
A transfer from St. Laurence, Botsoe made an incredible impact as a sophomore. The center fielder, already committed to Louisville, played gold glove defense, had 11 steals in 12 attempts and hit .444 with a .611 slugging percentage. "He's one of the best true baseball players I've ever coached in all my years," coach Tom Dorrance said.
Downers Grove South
Known as one of the state's premier arms, Burdi also put up some of the area's best offensive numbers. The senior pitcher-outfielder, committed to Iowa, led the Mustangs with a .418 batting average, adding 3 homers and 31 RBI. Burdi won 4 games while striking out 57. "He's been exactly what we needed," coach Darren Orel said.
When Willowbrook faced a big game the last two years, Cericola likely pitched in it for the Warriors. Twice named All-Area and all-West Suburban Gold, the senior won 15 varsity games. This season Cericola went 6-3 with a save, a 1.17 ERA and 66 strikeouts. "For two years he put us on his shoulders," coach Vic Wisner said.
A two-year starter, Coll was a true ace who relied on three pitches for strikes while increasing his velocity to the mid-80s. Heading into the Class 4A semifinals the senior pitcher-first baseman was 7-3 with a 1.30 ERA and 67 strikeouts against 10 walks. "He's one of the best pure baseball players we've had," coach Robin Renner said.
After missing his entire junior season due to injury, Colletti more than made up for lost time. The pitcher-infielder went 7-1 with a save, 38 strikeouts against only 4 walks and a 1.08 ERA. Colletti hit .320 with 40 RBI. "He had an amazing year considering he couldn't even throw a ball this time last year," coach Dan Schoessling said.
Ben Dobosenski, Montini
Leading the Broncos to a Suburban Christian Blue championship, the senior pitcher and first baseman was a three-year starter who earned league player of the year honors. He won six games on the mound while posting a 1.25 ERA. Dobosenski batted .390 with 5 home runs, 22 RBI and a .659 slugging percentage.
Committed to Purdue, the three-year starter garnered co-pitcher of the year honors in the DuPage Valley Conference. The senior went 5-1 with a 1.47 ERA and 55 strikeouts. Frawley drove in 25 runs and hit a team-high 4 home runs. "Every time he goes to the mound he's capable of no-hitting someone," coach Rich Smelko said.
Ethan Gasbarro, Glenbard South
With a motor that doesn't stop, Gasbarro contributed to program success throughout his three years on varsity. The senior played nearly every position, settling in at center field and on the mound. Gasbarro went 6-2 with 72 strikeouts and a 2.05 ERA while hitting .398. "He can help you win games in a lot of different ways," coach Mike Riley said.
A walk-off homer in the regional semifinals showed why teams dreaded facing Hasper's powerful bat. The junior outfielder-pitcher led his team with a .404 batting average, 5 homers and 10 doubles. He also won five games with a team-best 1.00 WHIP. "He's so important to us to be successful," coach Dan Fezzuoglio said.
Connor Kopach, Downers Grove North
A defensive wizard, Kopach also proved to be the Trojans' top offensive player. The senior shortstop, a Southern Illinois University recruit, showed power and speed while stealing 15 bases and putting up a .667 slugging percentage. Kopach led his team in most offensive categories, including a .441 batting average and 41 runs.
Downers Grove South
Mayer missed eight weeks last season with a hip injury, and the Pacific recruit responded with a memorable senior year. The pitcher-first baseman hit .415 with 4 homers, 43 RBI and a .627 slugging percentage. Mayer won 5 games. "A lot of kids are scared of the big moments, but he thrives on them," coach Darren Orel said.
Pat McInerney, Benet
Coming off an incredible basketball season, the senior pitcher-first baseman earned East Suburban Catholic Conference player of the year honors while leading Benet to a co-championship. He hit .381 with 8 homers and 38 RBI. McInerney went 6-1 on the mound. "He makes everyone around him better," coach Scott Lawler said.
Jimmy Nashert, Naperville Central
One of the area's elite athletes, Nashert was honored as the DuPage Valley's player of the year. The senior's versatility showed in his ability to bat leadoff, third or fourth. Nashert played center field and pitched to a 4-2 record with a 1.73 ERA. He batted .333. "He'd be our best player just about anywhere we'd put him," coach Mike Stock said.
All business on the mound and in the field, Schank played every game like it was his last. The senior pitcher-first baseman was the team's ace, posting a 7-1 record with 53 strikeouts and only 6 walks. Schank hit .360 with 22 RBI. "Jeff worked at his game all the time because every game was important to him," coach Mike Stock said.
It didn't take long for opposing baserunners to realize they shouldn't test Spear's cannon arm. The senior catcher, a three-year starter, threw out 61 percent of the 28 runners trying to steal on him. Spear allowed 2 passed balls and 12 wild pitches and batted .358. "He was a game-changer behind the plate for us," coach Dan Colucci said.
As the Spartans made their surprising charge to the Class 3A semifinals, Sullivan was at the forefront. The senior has pitched 20 postseason innings with 2 wins and a no-decision. For the season he has an 8-1 record with 3 saves, 56 strikeouts, 12 walks and a 1.75 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. He also carries a .317 batting average.
Christian Taugner, Lake Park
The Daily Herald DuPage All-Area Baseball Captain, Taugner established his legacy as the best pitcher in program history. The senior right-hander, a Brown recruit, went 10-2 with a 0.80 ERA, 108 strikeouts and 7 walks while batting .358 with 21 RBI. "In all three varsity years he stepped up his game," coach Dan Colucci said.
Ryan Van Volkenburg, Lisle
What can you say about a four-year starter who leads his team to a Class 2A title? A program cornerstone on the mound and in center field, Van Volkenburg hit .360 with 22 RBI while pitching in many of the Lions' biggest victories. Winning the regional final, sectional final, state semifinal and earning a save in the super, he went 6-1.
Jonathan Vlk, Neuqua Valley
Vlk may not be the hardest thrower, but nothing coming off his arm went straight. The senior pitcher's effectiveness arose from his ability to choose among a change, curve, cutter or fastball. Vlk takes an 8-0 record with 1.43 ERA into the Class 4A semifinals. "He's just real good at missing barrels," coach Robin Renner said.