Scouting DuPage County baseball
Coach: Mike Kennedy.
Last year: 19-13, 12-6 (third) in West Suburban Gold.
Scouting report: With hard-throwing aces lost to graduation the last couple years, this team must win differently. "There's not much pitching coming back," Kennedy said. "We're needing to develop some guys." Nick Daudelin returns 40 innings. Vince Daudelin, a third-year starter, didn't pitch much last year, but he'll be counted on as well. Shortstop Michael Scali, another third-year starter, hit a team-high .388 last year. A.J. Carlson, who hit over .300 as a sophomore, returns at leadoff.
Coach: Bob Gelwicks.
Last year: 17-14, 11-7 (tied for second) in East Suburban Catholic Conference.
Scouting report: Gelwicks takes the helm in his 10th year with the program. Jared Novak, Chris Perry and Connor Hincks -- all juniors -- combined for 65 innings last season. With even more young arms, that'll be the Redwings' strength. "There's no question they're ready for varsity baseball," Gelwicks said. Lefties Mike Wymer, Aaron Staehely, who last year hit .393 with 21 RBI, and Hincks, already committed to Virginia, lead a potent lineup from the top.
Downers Grove North
Coach: Kyle Briscoe.
Last year: 11-20, 6-12 (sixth) in West Suburban Silver.
Scouting report: Get ready for a youth movement with the Trojans, who have eight seniors and select members of a talented sophomore class. "It's a flip from last season when we had so many seniors," Briscoe said. First baseman Scott Jakobsze had a slow start to last season due to injury but still hit .333 and pitched 27 innings. Center fielder Cam Demos is one of the few other players with experience. Jakobsze leads the pitching staff, backed by sophomore Lucas Nielsen and junior Jack Tomy.
Downers Grove South
Coach: Darren Orel.
Last year: 22-10, 14-4 (tied for first) in West Suburban Gold.
Scouting report: The entire infield of Jake Pileggi, middle infielders Jack Blazevich and Anthony Stellato, and third baseman Mike Hoes returns to lead another Gold title charge. Stellato, a third-year starter, Pileggi and Blazevich hit over .300. Sophomore Cole Warehime adds another strong bat. "These guys have experience and should be able to handle most of the arms they see," Orel said. Rebuilding on the mound behind Andrew Alfini, a third-year pitcher, and Gino Cozzi is crucial.
Coach: David Schwabe.
Last year: 4-21, 3-16 (seventh) in Metro Suburban Blue.
Scouting report: This is a mighty young team. Their top players are shortstop David Burch, a sophomore who hit in the mid-.300s last year, junior second baseman Jose Alvarez and freshman center fielder Michael Rago. They'll be at the top of the order for a group that needs to develop on the fly. Pitching is also thin on experience with sophomore Aidan Kress and Matt Janovsky, who returns some varsity innings. "They want to practice and get better, no doubt about it," Schwabe said.
Coach: Joel Pelland.
Last year: 25-13, 10-5 (second) in Upstate Eight Valley.
Scouting report: Fourth-year catcher Bret Bushka, who last year hit .426 with 27 RBI, epitomizes the Rams' vast experience. Mitch Glennon and Jeremy Johnson add to a lineup that graduated only three seniors. Jimmy Cotteril stole 21 bases and Johnson had 17. Jacob Bailey, who won 5 games with a 1.78 ERA, Jacob Huisman and Glennon combined for more than 100 innings. "All those juniors who played last year are ready to step up," Pelland said.
Coach: Rich Smelko.
Last year: 9-25, 3-21 (ninth) in DuPage Valley Conference.
Scouting report: Success in the DuKane Conference may depend on pitching health. Mike Wellman, who logged 46 innings last year, is out indefinitely. Justyn Orozco, Brandon Gonzales and Ronak Parmar, who combined for 65 innings, need to fill the void along with sophomore Michael Betancourt. The Panthers should be able to outhit teams. "Hopefully that experience in our lineup translates into more wins," Smelko said. Brandon Cole hit .357 as a sophomore. Jim Zay hit .348 with 20 RBI.
Coach: Marco Eufrasio.
Last year: 19-15, 13-6 (third) in Metro Suburban Blue.
Scouting report: Led by Logan and Mason Barnick, the Raiders are ready to compete for the title in their first year in the Upstate Eight Conference. Ryan Creevy and the Barnicks return nearly 130 innings on the mound. "With our pitching depth I feel confident playing just about everyone on our schedule," Eufrasio said. The Barnicks anchor the lineup. John McMahon, who hit a team-high .396 with 21 RBI, returns at leadoff. Drew Vozza, Jack Dupuis, Cooper Wilson and Michael Nathe had at least 45 at-bats.
Coach: Andy Schultz.
Last year: 18-11, 11-7 (third) in West Suburban Silver.
Scouting report: The team strength lies with all-Silver pitchers Logan Ryan and Joey Ciero. Both had sub-2.50 ERAs and combined for 65 innings. Brett Potter, Connor Brady, Peter Schilling and Matt Shellady also return mound experience. "When you return two all-conference arms and they both got better, that's a good start," Schultz said. Strong pitching is needed as the lineup develops. Center fielder Tommy Bleker, who hit .301 at leadoff, and catcher David Dillman are the lone returners.
Coach: Jason Ziemer.
Last year: 16-14, 8-10 (fifth) in West Suburban Silver.
Scouting report: Nebraska-bound pitcher Kyle Wisch is out for the season after elbow surgery. Simon Lane, Ethan Harrast, Ayden Head and Zach Gooding still return half the innings from last year's team. With five experienced infielders, the defense should handle the loss of their top strikeout pitcher. "We're not overpowering, but the experience will help," Ziemer said. Outfielder Tom Jurack, a junior committed to Illinois, hit .440 in 25 at-bats. Charlie Huth is another junior up last year.
Coach: Paul Hoel.
Last year: 19-13, 14-4 (tied for first) in West Suburban Gold.
Scouting report: You can't help but notice the youth on this team with two sophomores and a freshman, but there's enough back to defend the Gold title. "I know we're going to pitch and I think we'll hit well," Hoel said. Frankie Klemm last season went 5-2 with a 1.91 ERA. Mike McCormack and Owen Dellamaria also bring back experience, but the interesting part of the staff is freshman Drew Duckhorn. About half the lineup returns headed by outfielder Jake Klepacz, who hit a team-high .446 with 20 RBI.
IC Catholic Prep
Coach: Frank DeAngelis.
Last year: 11-20, 8-11 (sixth) in Metro Suburban Blue.
Scouting report: Even with several young players, enough of them got experience last year. "We're ahead of the game from where we were at a year ago," DeAngelis said. Third-year varsity member Ryan Malek could play anywhere, but he'll be primarily at shortstop and be one of the Knights' top pitchers after last season posting a 2.07 ERA in 27 innings. Sophomore Dave Sykora also figures greatly in the pitching plans. Junior Kevin Cooke, injured last year, will make a big impact in the heart of the order.
Coach: Dan Colucci.
Last year: 25-15, 14-10 (third) in DuPage Valley Conference.
Scouting report: The bulk of last year's state semifinal team graduated, but the Lancers still have plenty to be competitive. "The only thing I ask is 100 percent effort, and this group is giving me that," Colucci said. Only one experienced pitcher returns, Masen Riser, who threw 21 innings. Three sophomores will play, including middle infielder Chris Worcester and catcher T.J. Kutil, who were both up during last year's playoff run. Infielder John DeConcilis hit .268 last year and returns the most at-bats.
Coach: Pete Meyer.
Last year: 20-12, 11-4 (second) in Interstate Eight North.
Scouting report: The Lions boast a lot of experience, but that doesn't mean the lineup is in stone. "There's isn't going to be a set lineup," Meyer said. "There's so much versatility with this team. I'm very excited about it." Between Damian Guerrero, A.J. Casmer, Connor Nigro and Jay McGrath the Lions return a massive number of at-bats. Guerrero hit a team-high .423 with 30 RBI. Casmer, who hit .354, went 8-2 with a 2.13 ERA. Nigro and Guerrero add to a staff that goes six deep on a 14-man roster.
Coach: Craig Tomczak.
Last year: 18-15, 13-11 (tied for fourth) in DuPage Valley Conference.
Scouting report: The Mustangs boast one of the area's top lineups. The question is whether their pitching gets healthy. Jack Cagigal and Patrick Straub, who last year combined for 75 innings, are both on the shelf for the first part of the season. But about that lineup...junior third baseman Cade Sullivan hit .477 with 37 RBI and shortstop Jake Kmiecik hit .446. Clay Billadeau, Spencer Collins and Jason Kirchner hit well over .300. "I like this lineup a lot, but every year is a new process," Tomczak said.
Coach: Rich Janor.
Last year: 20-14, 10-4 (tied for first) in Chicago Catholic Green.
Scouting report: After five straight regional titles, the Broncos aim to break through to the supersectional and beyond. "Our theme is good to great," Janor said. "We want to get to that next level." Four solid pitchers and a deep lineup make it possible. Michael Sclafani, last year's ace who struck out 60, Bobby Meifert, Michael Koszewski and Ralph Ortiz return on the mound. Shortstop Ryan Nelson, a fourth-year varsity member committed to Eastern Kentucky, hit .393. Sclafani hit .383.
Coach: Mike Stock.
Last year: 17-16, 12-12 (sixth) in DuPage Valley Conference.
Scouting report: There are a lot of question marks with the Redhawks, but they do return pitcher Jared Suchevits, who last year went 6-1 with a 2.92 ERA. Beyond Michael Clinkert's 18 innings, though, little pitching experience returns. "We've got pieces," Stock said, "but it's time for the new kids to step up." Southern Illinois-bound shortstop Sam Hojnar and second baseman Patrick Boyer are at the top of the order. Outfielder Danny Hughes, an all-DVC selection, batted .307 and drove in 17 runs.
Coach: Jim Chiappetta.
Last year: 19-14, 13-11 (tied for fourth) in DuPage Valley Conference.
Scouting report: Chiappetta, a former Huskies standout who has been coaching in the program, takes the reins from retired Carl Hunckler. "I feel so fortunate that I get to be the guy who carries on the program," Chiappetta said. Three seniors lead the lineup -- center fielder Cliff Vickers and third baseman Mike Bruebach, .300 hitters who shared the team lead in hits last season, and shortstop Tim Dalton. Logan Van Poucke threw 30 innings. Vickers returns to a key relief role. Logan Nardi had a strong summer.
Coach: James Thornton.
Last year: 31-4, 21-3 (first) DuPage Valley Conference.
Scouting report: Thornton, in his 21st season coaching, takes over for retired Robin Renner. The area's top team the last two years could be the best again despite huge graduation losses. "It's a lot of relatively unknown guys but they know how to win," Thornton said. Anthony Sterchele had a 1.40 ERA in 30 innings. Jake Karaba had 3 saves and moves to a starting role. Shortstop Nick Taylor hit .396 with 19 RBI. Creighton-bound Nolan Clifford, Mike Gould and Ethan Schreier, who hit 3 homers, also return.
Coach: Nick Hall.
Last year: 12-14, 3-11 (eighth) in Chicago Catholic League Blue.
Scouting report: Expect a vault in victories with a move to the Metro Suburban Conference...not to mention all that returning experience. "This senior class is ready for any challenge," Hall said. Butler-bound pitcher-shortstop Nick Kosmetatos returns as the team's ace and top hitter. Last year he hit .444 and went 5-0 with a 2.35 ERA. Ben Radel, sophomore Jeff Clark and Nino Christopher are part of a deep staff. Bennett Eltoft, Trevor Hicks, Clark and Kosmetatos will drive in a bunch of runs.
Coach: Brian Whartnaby.
Last year: 17-14, 10-9 (fourth) in Metro Suburban Red.
Scouting report: After six years in the program, Whartnaby becomes the coach following Jim Snoeyink's retirement. Much graduated from last year's sectional title team, but this isn't a rebuild. The lineup is solid with the return of Thomas Becvar, who hit .300 with 20 RBI, Trent Marrera and Ethan Roemmich. Becvar, Marrera, Garrett Pullen, Roemmich and Beau Brady must make up for pitching losses. "We'll see who our strike-throwers are and who can go deep into games," Whartnaby said.
Coach: Bryan Acevedo.
Last year: 7-26, 5-19 (eighth) in DuPage Valley Conference.
Scouting report: If the Warriors improve, it'll be with newcomers. Whether it's seniors who didn't play last year, juniors new to varsity, or even transfers like Ivanosky Wong, a move-in from Venezuela. First baseman Cole Gregorio hit. .375 to lead last year's team. He and Will Jaynes are the top returning bats. "Offensively, we feel way ahead of where we were a year ago," Acevedo said. Alex Lemmons and Jack Carpenter bring back a combined 48 innings. A talented junior class must fill in the holes.
Coach: T.J. Nall.
Last year: 6-24, 3-12 (fifth) in Upstate Eight Valley.
Scouting report: The Wildcats hope a year of experience does Bobby Bartlett and Luke Krogh a world of good. Last season they combined for nearly 65 innings on the mound. "We're not going to outslug teams or overpower them on the mound," Nall said. "We just have to compete and compete." Competing at the plate is another piece. Center fielder Carter Tijerina, who hit .298, returns at leadoff. Bartlett, who hit .278, backs him up. Ryan Schmidt led the team with 14 RBI in only 62 at-bats.
Coach: D.J. Cocks.
Last year: 15-17, 4-12 (tied for fourth) in Interstate Eight North.
Scouting report: Behind fourth-year varsity members Caden Anderson, Matt O'Leary, Alex Marotta and Robbie Burns, the Sentinels aim to reclaim their status as a Class 2A power. "This team is loaded with experience," Cocks said. "We've been waiting to combine this senior and junior class." Four of the top five hitters return. Shortstop O'Leary hit a team-high .408 with 20 RBI. Marotta was the ace with a 2.39 ERA in 44 innings. Troy Schlicher, who didn't play last year, adds a boost to the lineup.
Coach: Justin Swider.
Last year: 15-16, 10-9 (fourth) in Metro Suburban Blue.
Scouting report: Swider's first team as coach has four third-year varsity members in Thomas Love, Peter Crowe, Michael Cortez and Max Martin. The Warriors will lean on that senior core, but junior J.D. Rienow was all-MSC last year and Shane Baumgarten started at third a freshman. He's one of three sophomores up on varsity. "This is a group that could win a regional and surprise some people," Swider said. Cortez, Martin and Luke Roman, another junior, bring back mound experience.
Coach: Dan Schoessling.
Last year: 23-12, 17-7 (second) in DuPage Valley Conference.
Scouting report: The Falcons reached the final eight in the summer, which bodes well this spring. This team will mix and match lineups more than in past seasons. "It worked well in the summer, so we'll keep it going," Schoessling said. Illinois State-bound catcher Tyler Woltman hit .292 last year while Iowa-bound junior shortstop Andy Nelson and Joe Klein, who hit .385 and drove in 34 runs, also return. Ryan Russman and Nelson pitched 40 innings, but Mike Sullivan might be the ace after a great summer.
Coach: John Scherrman.
Last year: 13-20, 10-14 (seventh) in DuPage Valley Conference.
Scouting report: Matt Scherrman and Ryan Keeley, out last season due to injury, form a nice one-two pitching punch. Add Mike Meissner's 32 innings and 3 wins last year, and the senior-laden Tigers will be much improved on the mound. "There's a confidence with seniors," coach Scherrman said. "They've had success in other sports and they want to experience that in baseball." Scherrman, the Tigers' shortstop, hit .321 with 15 RBI. Outfielder Joe Adamek hit .311 from the leadoff spot.
Coach: Vic Wisner.
Last year: 20-15, 10-8 (fourth) in West Suburban Gold.
Scouting report: No area team returns more experience. It'll be most evident on a pitching staff led by junior Dax Meyer, who last year went 10-0 with a 1.54 ERA, Ryan Mintz, Joey Guthrie and Jack Nilles. That foursome combined for 175 innings. In addition to Mintz and Nilles, shortstop Jack Hines and catcher Marshall McDonnell are third-year varsity members. Outfielder Trevor Jaloszynski is in his fourth varsity season. "We went on a roll last year," Wisner said. "We need to keep that going."
Coach: Dave Kalal.
Last year: 21-12, 10-8 (fourth) in West Suburban Silver.
Scouting report: The Dukes could field an all-senior lineup. That's good news considering it includes shortstop Ryan Ross, who last year hit .435 with 26 RBI, and second baseman Ian Steinorth. Both are third-year starters. Dan Brown, Bo Thomas and Clay Letourneau add to a potent top of the order. Kellan Gilmartin and John Milling combined for about 50 innings, but the pitching staff must deepen. "They're all going to compete, but we need to find guys who throw strikes," Kalal said.
-- compiled by Kevin Schmit