LEMONT — Having spent three years at Lemont early in his coaching career, Brian Storako returns to take over the Indians’ baseball program after a stint at Marian Catholic.
He inherits a team that won 23 games a year ago and finished in a tie for first place in the South Suburban Blue conference with Oak Forest.
“It’s very exciting,” Storako said. “There is a lot of talent, they are good kids and they’ve been working hard and we are hoping to build off last year.”
Lemont returns two of the highest-regarded players in Illinois in junior pitcher Jake Latz and junior catcher Mike Papierski, both of whom already verbally committed to Louisiana State University. The left-handed Latz is the staff ace after striking out 79 batters in 59 innings last spring while Papierski is a three-year varsity performer who batted .314 with 24 RBIs in 2012.
Another standout is senior outfielder Alex Broskovetz, whose .417 batting average last year was the second highest on the team.
Connor O’Brien returns at first base, Mike Wisz is the starter at second and Mark Tokarski takes over at shortstop after missing most of last spring with an injury. Jake Terrazas will see time at both third base and on the mound.
Charlie Wright and Cody Caballero round out the pitching staff.
“Our pitchers are throwing well so far,” the coach said. “Offensively, we probably have a little more power than speed. But we will be able to put the ball in play and we will have to manufacture runs especially early in the year.”
One thing the first-year head coach won’t have to worry about is the attitude of his team.
“They are a bunch of hard-workers,” said Storako about his roster of 24 players, “and all of them have a common goal. They fit well together as a team.”
A challenging schedule awaits the group, both within the league and with a non-conference lineup that features mainly Class 4A teams. Included in that is the Stevie’s Way tournament which features some of the top teams in the state in New Trier, Joliet Catholic, Oak Park-River Forest and St. Rita.
A year ago, Lemont went 17-2 in the South Suburban Blue.
“The top team every year is Oak Forest,” Storako said, “and Richards is always tough on the other side.
“If we play defense and throw strikes, we will be fine because offensively, we will come around.”