Baseball: Scouting Northwest

By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 3/19/2015 3:29 PM
  • Palatine's Zander Breytenbach delivers against Elk Grove last season. He's back for his senior year after contributing big innings as a junior.

      Palatine's Zander Breytenbach delivers against Elk Grove last season. He's back for his senior year after contributing big innings as a junior. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Elk Grove and Matt Wary celebrate after beating Schaumburg 4-0 in last year's Mid-Suburban League title game at Schaumburg. Wary is among the core of players returning this spring for the defending conference champs.

      Elk Grove and Matt Wary celebrate after beating Schaumburg 4-0 in last year's Mid-Suburban League title game at Schaumburg. Wary is among the core of players returning this spring for the defending conference champs. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

MID SUBURBAN EASTBuffalo GroveCoach: Tim Miller (1st year)

Last year: 8-23, 2-14 (MSL East 6th place)

Key losses: Andrew Cole (2B), Jeremy Firszt (C/SS), Sean Edgar (1B/3B), Brendon Murphy (P/OF), Eric Van Wazer (P)

Returnees: Seniors: Justin Hasek (P/OF): Dan Levato (C/P/3B), Nate D'Onofrio (2B/3B/P), Adam Apel (P); Mike Kleczynski (CF). Junior: Joey Pinakidis (LF).

Newcomers: Juniors: Ben Moran (2B); Ernesto Cervantes III (1B); Sophomores: John Carpinelli (SS); Tyler Rundquist (C )

Outlook: It will be a lefty-dominated batting order for first-year coach Tim Miller. The Bison will look to rebuild after a disappointing season last year and will start with a trip to Tampa, the first one of its kind for Buffalo Grove. The Bison will be led by Hasek, who hit .278 last year, and Pinakidis, who hit .286 as a sophomore last year. "I think we have a good mix of experience and youth," Miller said. "Our kids have worked real hard over the off-season and have bought into the team first culture we are trying to establish. I'm hoping our spring trip can help build some momentum going into upcoming season."

Elk Grove Coach: Terry Beyna (16th season, 261-251)

Last year: 22-11, 10-6 (1st place in MSL East, MSL Champion)

Key losses: Petar Arbov (INF/P), Adam O'Malley (P/1B), Tyler Lawson (P), Daryl Rivera (OF/P); Josh Berbreiter (INF); Matt Eder (INF), Johnny Assimakopoulos (C/DH)

Returnees: Seniors: Brandon Post, (OF); Matt Wary (OF/INF); Sean Fege (C), Mike Parisi (P); Jordan Guerrero (DH/1B); Taylor O'Connor (OF); Bobby Hlavin (OF/P); Austin Shallcross (P/OF) Juniors: Christian Camacho, All Conference INF/P

Newcomers: Juniors: Jonathan Maday (P): Joe Lopez (INF/P); AJ Lorenz (INF); Jack McEnroe (C/1B); Chuck Fleming (INF)

Outlook: The Grens return a pair of key contributors from their MSL title team in all-area players Brandon Post and Christian Camacho, who will move from second to short this year. Post, who will attend Lewis University, is one of three players who has signed to play in college next year. Wary will be headed to Vernon College in Texas while Shallcross, who will be sidelined early in the season with an elbow injury, has been recruited as a walk-on to Murray State. Beyna will be eager to see how this team can make its mark this season. "Our returning players know what it takes to win in our tough league," Beyna said. "We will look for our leadership from them." Beyna is also confident in his pitching staff this year. "We are aware that we are replacing much of our pitching from last year," Beyna said. "We were in the same place a year ago and did pretty well. We are confident that we have pitchers that can step up and fill important roles on our staff."

HerseyCoach: Bob Huber (21th season, 400-401)

Last year: 18-17, 10-6 (2nd MSL East)

Key losses: Scott Bakal (INF); Rich Carisiello (P, Harper): Quin Jedd (RF); Joe Koutnik (P, North Park); Erik Lebahn 1B, P, Ferris State); Tom Pearson (P) CJ Reichel (C, Illinois Weselyan); Andrew Segalla (SS); Joe Silva (OF, Concordia); Mitch Smelser (1B/DH); Karl Tallon (OF/P); Jack Warner (2B)

Returnees: Seniors: Ryan Allain (P/OF); Nick Zouras (P) Will Trossen (OF); Charlie Dempsey (OF); Kris Plough (C/1B); Will Goldsberry (2B); Zac Durec (P); Junior: Brett Harris (3B)

Newcomers: Seniors: Max Heeren (OF); Campbell White (1B/P); Tucker Fenwick (/OF). Juniors: Dylan Goone (Inf/P); Mat Johnson (OF/C/P); Luke LaSalvia (P/OF); Buzz Lindgren (P/OF); Tanner Luke (1B/P); Jim Mijal (P); Adam Schill (2B); Adam Schliesman (P); Andrew Song (OF); Paul Tokar (S/2B); Dan Wolf (C/OF)

Outlook: The Huskies won a regional title last season as long-time coach Bob Huber notched his 400th career victory. But graduation was tough on Hersey, which lost 7 starters as it looks to regroup behind a strong 1-2 punch on the mound in Allain, who will attend Florida Tech and Zouras, who is headed to Illinois State. "We are young in key places, but very athletic," Huber said. "If we throw it and catch we have a chance."

ProspectCoach: Ross Giusti (19th season 353-242)

Last year: 19-14, 10-6 (2nd, MSL East)

Key losses: Tom Flahaven (OF); Mike Smith (OF); Grant Gerdes (INF); Jon Loving (P); Jordan Fedro (P); Jackson Wrede (P); Jim Kennedy (P); Tony Gattuso (P); Nick Rodriguez (P)

Returnees: Seniors: Cliff Arnoux (P); Jake Cavaiani (SS); Trey Compton (OF); Jack Courtney (C/OF); Tyler Damasky (OF/P); Sean Delacruz (INF/P); Dan Devereux (P);Pat Donohue (INF); Nick Donzelli (P); Lucas Karz(INF/P); Grant Miller (C); Matt Nadler (INF/OF); Mike Piotrowski (OF); Justin Placko (P); Willie Sampson (P).

Newcomers: Senior: J Sean Blatz (P); Brian Mulvihill (P). Juniors: Ryan Molini (INF/P); Pasquale Atteo (P); Travis Gates (INF/P)

Outlook: After a second-place finish during the summer season, the Knights enter 2015 with great anticipation. Many of this group have been starting since sophomore year. Now With a senior-dominated squad led by all-area returnee Devereaux along with Miller, Donohue and Cavaiani, Pospect looks to go deep into the playoffs this year. The Knights look to get things started during their Spring trip to Tampa. "We are a senior heavy team that has a lot of varsity experience under its belt," Giusti said. The summer tournament proved to be a big step in the right direction with key wins." The Knights also have a slew of players that will play in college with Donohue (Valparaiso), Karz (Presbyterian), Compton (Elmhurst College); Mike Piotrowski (Dominican University), Placko (Wisconsin-Parkside) and Devereux (Johns Hopkins).

Rolling Meadows Coach: Jim Lindeman (13th season, 222-195)

Last year: 12-19, 8-8 (4th, MSL East)

Key losses: Alex Niecikowski (INF): Billy Garoppolo (OF); Kevin Montero (OF); Erik Schurtz (P-OF); Bob Suchecki (C)

Returnees: Seniors: Brett Gibson (P-CF); Jack O'Neill (INF): Sean O'Brien (P); Ryan Differding (P-INF); Terry Moran (P-1B); Manny Zervos (C)

Newcomers: Juniors: Mark Dillon (P-INF); Hank Holm (C); Trent McNally (INF-P); Alex Rezny (P-INF); Luke Schurtz (OF); Ellis Shalton (OF-P); Ryan Laboda (P-1B); Colin Lorentzen (OF); Luka Pavlakis (OF); Nate Baron (INF-OF); Jorell Beltran (INF-OF)

Outlook: With 11 juniors on the roster, the Mustangs will lean heavily on Gibson and O'Neill this year to help carry their young team through. Lindeman will be looking for a second and third starter to help though a competitive schedule this season. "We will be as competitive as our pitching allows," Lindeman said. "We also need to find some consistent offense throughout the lineup. We are working hard to improve in all areas and like everyone else we will try to rely on our strengths and overcome our weaknesses."

WheelingCoach: Jason Wieder (3rd season, 25-41)

Last year: 14-21 6-10 (5th place, MSL East)

Key losses: Angelo DeBlasio (1B/P); George Alimissis (OF/DH) ; Josh Kim (SS), Lucas Vieau (OF), Bruce Ferraro (OF)

Returnees: Seniors: Brenden Spillane (CF); Nathan Cooney (SS/P); Jake Jordan (OF/1B/P); Matt Vollmer (2B/OF); Martin Falkiner (3B/P); Brian Lorey (P). Junior: Christian Hubbard (C).

Newcomers: Seniors: Max Chung (SS/OF/P); Alec Gaffin (1B). Juniors: Alex Khatcherian (RF); Ryan Caulfield (P); Patrick Ryan (3B/P). Freshman: Drew Roberts (LF/C)

Outlook: With six returning starters, including 3 pitchers, this is the team that Wheeling has been waiting for. Led by the Illinois-bound Spillane, who appears to be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, the Wildcats are eyeing their first regional title in 10 years. Look for Cooney and Jake Jordan also to be tough outs in the middle of the lineup while Hubbard, who started last year as a sophomore, does a great job of handling the pitchers. "This team is really focused on the process of playing good baseball," Wieder said. "They show up every day with great energy and a willingness to work hard. Our guys are hungry for success and I'm excited to see them compete every day."

MID SUBURBAN WESTBarringtonCoach: Pat Wire (3rd season, 48-23)

Last year: 26-11 11-5 (1st in MSL West)

Key losses: Wyatt Trautewein (P); Jack Lenz (C); Joey Sciaccotta (2B); 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)

Returnees: Seniors: Mitch Pfeiffer (OF); Jake Coon (1B); Jake Petersen (C-P-OF); Anthony Delaurentis (P); Casey Dodge (C-3B); Luke Johnson (INF); Jake Zyzda (P/OF); Dane Meier (P); Andrew Stopka (INF)

Newcomers: Juniors: Jimmy Day (OF/INF); Jacob Chapman (OF/INF); Pat Denhert (P/OF). Sophomore: Brooks Gosswein (P/OF)

Outlook: The Broncos hope to keep things rolling under Wire, who now has two MSL West titles in his first two seasons as head coach. And the Broncos have a great nucleus to build off in Pfeiffer, Coon and Petersen along with Delaurentis on the mound. Dodge and Johnson have also looked impressive according to Wire, who is also very high on Gosswein, who is sophomore and a lefthander. "Although the Broncos have had success in the league, the overall belief is that we have unfinished business," Wire said. "We have had 48 wins in the last two years. But it has produced zero regional championships in those two years."

ConantCoach: Derek Fivelson (2nd year 12-21)

Last year: 12-21, 6-10 (5th place MSL West)

Key losses: Brian Polaski (P, Carthage); Mike Matej (P); Steve Bola (P/INF); Zach Gale (2B, Judson); Dan Modelski (P, 1b, 3B); JT Peacock (C); Jeremy Sneed (P) Robert Zerfas (P, Saint Mary's University); Jordan Wolff (SS); Brady Pelesh (CF); Colton Comstock (P)

Returnees: Seniors: Anthony Forte (RF/P); Matt Fauth (CF); Pat Smith (P); Luke Downey (P): Mike Mazurek (C). Junior: Jim Brady (SS)

Newcomers: Juniors: Nick Roberts (C); Ryan Roberts (3B/P); Nick Sbertoli (INF); Alec Krebs (2B); Jim McGlaughlin (2B/3B/P); Nathan Kawalek (1B); Joe Sekulich (P/1B); Jeff Bolbot (OF); Matt Mills (P/OF); Jack Lunkes (OF); Dylan Drake (OF/1B); Josh Pozniak (P); Atsuhiro Fukuda (P,); Dan Hafer (P)

Outlook: Fivelson's team made great strides last season as the Cougars quadrupled their win total from the previous season. Conant looks to be in even better shape this year with three Division I players on the team in Forte (Tulane), Fauth (Western Illinois) and Brady (Bradley) along with a junior college signee in Smith (Heartland Community College). Conant will need some of their juniors to step up in key roles. "This team is very talented and deep," Fivelson said. "I firmly believe if we take care of the freebies and limit the amount of errors and walks, we will win a lot of games."

Fremd Coach: Chris Piggott (12th season, 225-169)

Last year: 16-16 10-8 (3nd in MSL West)

Key losses: Dylan Fisher (2B); Austin Jetel (1B); Dan Montgomery (OF) Jack Miller (P/OF); Marcus Middlebrook (SS); Matt Gura (3B); Ryan Lenahan (1B)

Returnees: Seniors: Mack Rosman (P/OF, Northwestern); Cody Patenaude (OF); Dan Pinderski (P/OF); Danny Hermetet (2B); Ian Bohn (C, University of Chicago); Joe Uhrich (1B); Kaz Higuchi, (INF); Tom Austin (3B, Concordia-St. Paul); Alex Stremel (P). Junior: Ethan Hajdukovic (OF/P)

Newcomers: Juniors: Justin Castillo (P/INF); Charlie Kaye (3B); Patrick Cudney (INF/P); Austin Spiewak (P); Jared Swenson (P); JT Kolderup (P/INF); Yosh Kurata (P); Jack Molnar (P);Troy Hajdukovic (C); Joe Smaga (P/OF); Jake Lagasse (OF).

Outlook: The Vikings will go as far as Rosman can take them. The Northwestern-bound Rosman fanned 90 last year in just over 56 innings; he's the top returning pitcher in the area and should continue that success this season. Pinderski should also be a big help on the bump while the Vikes search for a No. 3 starter. "We return the core of our pitching staff that had an ERA of 2.80 last year," Piggott said. "Our pitchers throw a lot of strikes and challenge hitters. Our big question mark is our offense. We have challenged these guys to understand their swing and make adjustments. If we can score some runs, we will be a tough team to beat."

Hoffman EstatesCoach: Todd Meador (16th season 214-263)

Last year: 14-18 6-10 (5th in MSL West)

Key losses: Ethan Bloom (P/3B); Keegan Mugerditchian (C); Brad Demmon (P); Trevor Pye (3B); Zach Lewandowski (1B); Jack Kelley (P); Sajan Sharma (OF); Chris Mester (2B)

Returnees: Seniors: Ryan Ward (P/1B); Jeff Mayes (SS/P); Matt Roesch (3B); CJ Conway (C/P); Brandon Harris (OF/P); Stephan Bonilla (OF/SS); Devin Willis (1B); Doug Rathje (OF); Owen Sturgeon (C/1B).

Newcomers: Senior: Will Herbert (2B); Juniors: Kevin Howell (C/3B); Marc Gonzalez (OF/P). Sophomore: Lucas Barnes (P)

Outlook: The Hawks will miss Bloom, who was Player of the Year last year. But Meador says he has the potential to have 8 seniors starting including Ward, Mayes, Rathje and Willis. They look to get Hoffman over the hump, after the Hawks fell in the regional final the last two years. "There is a core of seniors that have outstanding chemistry together and a great work ethic," Meador said. "They know how to get after it at practice, compete, but also enjoying the hard work." Meador said last summer was a good building block for his team. "Last summer there we had a number of players really prove themselves as varsity players," Meador said. "I'm excited to see these players get a chance to play on a daily basis."

PalatineCoach: Paul Belo (12th season, 226-201)

Last year: 21-15, 8-8 (4th place, MSL West)

Key losses: Zach Serna (3B), Matt Saltess (2B), Andrew Bohlmann (OF), Nolan Gavin (P), Matt Trembly (P), Dan Ryan (P)

Returnees: Seniors: Chris Macahon (SS), Nick Orlando (2B/OF/P); Michael Stacy (1B/RHP); Zander Breytenbach (P, Indiana Weslyan); Patick Seeberger (P); Mitch Dolen (INF); Andrew Breytenbach (C) . Juniors: Matt Lamm (OF/P); Joey Roy (OF/P); Matt Refka (P/OF)

Newcomers: Junior: Ryan Anderson (P/OF). Sophomores: Zach Oles (3B); Jack Grochowski (P/1B/OF); John Weber (OF/P)

Outlook: The Pirates return five starters from last year's squad that was edged by Warren in the state playoffs. Macahon and Orlando are the strengths up the middle to give solid defense to returning pitchers Breytenbach and Seeberger, who combined for over 100 innings last year and are keys to this year's staff. Rekfa, who got some time on the hill last year as a junior along with Orlando, Lamm and Roy, will also be called upon. "Macahon is one of the area's top shortstops displaying great range, reliable hands and an accurate throwing arm," Belo said. "Defense and pitching will allow us to compete."

SchaumburgCoach: Cal Seely (2nd season)

Last year: 16-9, 11-5 (1st in MSL West)

Key losses: Ryan Woloszyk (3B); Joe Franz (SS); Michael Fan (1B); Jack Holden (LF); Brad Schwind (CF/P); Josh Rahn (RF/P); Connor Quinn (C); Kyler Bruner (2B);Dylan Roskin (RF/P); Eric Glombicki (SS); Ryan Schocker (1B/P); Jeffrey Barrash (P/DH); Johnnie Flynn (P)

Returnees: Seniors: Christian Poulsen (RF/P); Brendan Beck (1B/P); Alex Kiszkowski (SS/P); Christian Spitelli (LF/P); Tyler Teele (C). Junior: Jack Bellinger (1B/P).

Newcomers: Juniors: Jacob Rintz (2B/SS); Chris Broccolino (2B); Parker Nolan (1B/P) Andrew Ralston (CF); Tony Olson (LF); David Tornabene (RF). Sophomores: Tommy Larsen (3B); Jaeden Bruner (C)

Outlook: The Saxons lost 13 players with significant playing time to graduation from their MSL West title. But with Beck and Bellinger on the hill, the Saxons should have an excellent to chance be near the top again. Kiszkowski and Spitelli saw plenty of action last year and that should help as well. Seely said that sophomores Larsen and Bruner are players to watch. "We feel very confident in our ability to execute the fundamentals of the game," Seely said. "With a seasoned and proven 1-2 pitching staff, we know we have an opportunity to win every time we step onto the field."

CENTRAL SUBURBAN NORTHMaine WestCoach: Joe Pederson (9th season 136-109)

Last year: 17-17, 8-8 (4th CSL North)

Key losses: Matt Swanson (P); Geoff Duckmann (SS/2B); Chris Selgrad (OF); Austin Jablonski (P/INF); Jordan Baird (P)

Returnees: Seniors: Crosley Duckmann (P-INF); Dillon Ronan (OF); Rob Yost (P); Kyle Divelbiss (OF); Tommy Hanson (P). Juniors: Eric Outlaw (INF); Sean Russell (INF); Jake Riportella (OF); Joe Swanson (C).

Newcomers: Juniors: Brad Uidl (INF); Troy Johnson (INF); Isaiah Riveria (OF)

Outlook: The Warriors have a nice mix of juniors and seniors as Pederson and his squad home to get over the hump this season. Duckmann and Divelbiss, who is headed to Iowa Weslyan next year, will be key factors. Outlaw, Swanson and Riportella were starters last year as sophomores and also figure prominently into this year's success. "The tale of this group will boil down to consistently throwing strikes and playing defense," Pederson said. "We need to make plays defensively. If we can do this we will have a chance to win on a daily basis. We will have outstanding team chemistry and leadership."

EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLICSt. ViatorCoach: Mike Manno (10th season, 165-157)

Last year: 23-15, 6-10 (5th place ESCC)

Key losses: 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).

Returnees: Seniors: Ben Dickey (OF); Kevin Monson (SS); Matt Darling (2B); George Burny (P); Aaron Tres (C/P); Jason Wilhite (P); Matt Levin (3B); Mac Rooney (C); Nick Pugesek (OF); , Tom Gaffney (P); Ron Bailitz (OF); Joe McCollum (OF); Alexander Landy (1B); Andrew Borto (DH); Trusten Annin (DH)

Newcomers: Seniors: Jace Williams (OF). Juniors: Jack Coney (3B); Dan Sullivan (1B); Kevin Napoleon (P) Sean Falbo (P/C) Mike Ragauskis (OF); Jack Sexton (2B); Tyler Landoch (P); Kevin Hammarlund (P); Tony Nagle (P); Alec Muscarello (P); Mike O'Neill (OF); Chris Lolli (OF); Colin Perry (P). Sophomore: Cole Kmet (P/1B).

Outlook: Manno, who has coached 4 of his last 5 teams to regional titles, thinks that this one may be better than all the rest. It starts with the Northwestern-bound Dickey, who when he returns from an injured hamstring, is a threat to steal every time he is on base. The Lions also have a solid rotation led by Burny, Falbo, Napoloeon, Kmet and Tres. "When you see our team people will say that we play the game the right way and are very disciplined all the way around," Manno said. "We still need to improve our hitting, but our pitching and defense is as good as any ones in the northwest suburbs."

NORTHEASTERN ATHLETICChristian Liberty AcademyCoach: Jed Bennett (5th season 31-74)

Last year: 11-17, 3-7(5rd in NAC, Class 1A regional champ)

Key losses: Dylan Antonides (OF/P); Aaron Cunningham (1B); Aaron Karr (SS); Brendan Brosnan (OF); Gabe Grob (OF)

Returnees: Seniors: Tom Keplar: (P). Juniors: Peter Grob: (INF); Tim Laskowski: (OF); Alex Wyatt: (2B). Sophmores: Aiden Miller (C/SS); Mark Cabrera (P/INF); Jimmy Cunningham (3B/P); Jake Ringstrand (OF); Michael Sullivan (P)

Newcomers: Junior: Chris Hoffman (P/C/INF). Freshmen Ben Law (INF); Matthew Kelly (OF/P); Jeremy Ligon (INF)

Outlook: Success has its price and CLA has been called upon to pay up this year. The Chargers, who have won 2 consecutive Class 1A regional titles, move to class 2A this year. And thy will do it after losing a central part of their team to graduation last year. It will be a young team that takes the field for Bennett, who has just one senior on the team. "We lost a lot to graduation last year," Bennett said. "But we have a talented group of underclassmen who saw quite a bit of time last year. We will have a shorter roster this year, but a bunch of them can pitch so we should be in good shape to be competitive."

WEST SUBURBAN GOLDLeydenCoach: Rob Hamann (4th season 34-60)

Last year: 8-24, 4th in WSGC

Key losses: Brian Mackey (P/INF); Mark Stephens (SS); Zack Johnson (P)

Returnees: Seniors: Jacob Nunez (3B); Zac Seymore (P/1B); Hector Herrera (P/SS); Tommy Szopinski (C)

Newcomers: Juniors: Jeremey Borges (P/C/INF); Kevin Nevarez (P); Mike Wilms (P); Robert Wisniewski (INF)

Outlook: The Eagles head into the season full of excitement thanks to the play of Nunez, Seymore, Herrera and Szopinski, who were all key contributors last year. Add in a talented group of juniors and there is reason for optimism. "We will be anchored by a solid senior core this year, many of whom got varsity experience last year," Hamann said. "We also have a group of younger players who will compete for starting jobs as well. We are excited about our pitching and defense and will put a very competitive team on the field."

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