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Baseball preview: New Morton coach plans return to winning ways

Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 9:47 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:47 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Bill Ackerman)
Sergio Villalobos returns to help anchor Morton's pitching rotation. File photo by Bill Ackerman — backerman@shawmedia.com

BERWYN — First-year varsity coach Mike Casey takes over the Morton baseball program after three years of coaching in the lower levels.

Casey’s squad will feature a number of juniors, but many of them saw time on varsity last year. Last year’s team failed to reach the 10-win mark, but Casey is optimistic the returning experience will help the Mustangs show improvement.

“The seniors this year when they were freshmen they only won three games as freshmen and every year they’ve gotten better,” Casey said. “My sophomores last year were competitive against every team in the conference. Every year they’re improving and its exciting to see where we’ll be this year based on that fact.”

Three-year varsity starter Marco D’Angelo leads the offense. A pair of transfers, junior catcher Nick Campanelli from St. Patrick and sophomore shortstop Luis Rivera from St. Joseph, may also make the batting order. The lineup may not have the depth to be a high-scoring team.

Casey said the strength of the team will be in pitching and defense. A trio of right-handed pitchers — Anthony Iniquez, Eli McMahon and Sergio Villalobos — will carry the pitching staff.

“We’ll be as good as those horses are,” Casey said. “We play real good defense and our pitchers are going to throw a lot of strikes.”

Morton hasn’t had much success in recent years, and the lack of depth in the program has resulted in younger players being called up to varsity earlier than they might be elsewhere. In the short-term that hasn’t led to wins, but Casey thinks the experience this group has accumulated will help them turn things around.

“I think one thing that hurts us that we haven’t had the depth that we had in the past,” Casey said. “Sometimes we pull them up too soon, but it’s better than other options. This group we have here is the best varsity group since I’ve been here.”

With that in mind, Casey is hoping the Mustangs can become a winning team.

“Our goals are obviously first to win conference, but first we want to get over that .500 mark,” Casey said. “We haven’t even been close to that recently.”

Meet the Mustangs

Coach:
Mike Casey

Top players:

Marco D'Angelo sr. RF

Anthony Iniquez jr. P

Eli McMahon sr. P

Sergio Villalobos jr. P

Next game: 4:30 p.m. Thursday at home vs. Riverside Brookfield

3: Sophomores on the Morton roster, all of which coach Mike Casey said have a chance to start

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