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Baseball preview: Division I recruits anchor Downers South's formidable pitching rotation

File photo by Bill Ackerman —
Zach Burdi returns to the mound for Downers Grove South this spring before playing at Iowa next season.
File photo by Bill Ackerman — Zach Burdi returns to the mound for Downers Grove South this spring before playing at Iowa next season.

DOWNERS GROVE —Like almost every other baseball team in the area, Downers Grove South has been relegated to indoor practice because of the whims of the weather.

The 5 a.m. fieldhouse practices, which started Feb. 25, aren’t ideal, but the Mustangs are making the best of a bad situation.

“It’s hard, but we’re practicing hard and getting as much accomplished as we can considering the circumstances,” head coach Darren Orel said.

The positive to being confined indoors, at least as far as South is concerned, is that it does little to hinder the development of a pitching staff that should be one of the team’s biggest strengths.

Brian Glowicki, a Minnesota recruit, was South’s most consistent hurler last spring and returns to head the staff.

Zach Burdi turned heads last year and is back as an Iowa recruit. Danny Mayer (Pacific), Nick Alfini (St. Ambrose), Alex Galik and Zach Taylor pitched last spring and are also back.

“Runs come and go, but I think our pitching keeps us in games,” Orel said. “Hitting is tough to do, but with good pitching and consistent defense where you don’t give away outs, you’re going to be in almost every game.”

The Mustangs also bring back starters at every position in the field, including West Suburban Gold all-conference middle infielders Kevin Raher and Joe Becht. Mayer and Galik man the corner infield spots when not pitching. A slew of outfielders are back as are catchers Javier Martinez and Anthony Vattimo, who will both see time behind the dish.

The challenge once the season gets underway will be putting all the pieces in place as the games, including a handful of make-up games, come in bunches. The challenges will keep coming in the Gold, where Hinsdale South and Willowbrook should join the Mustangs in the race for the conference title.

“On paper we look great but we’ve got to go out and prove it,” Orel said. “We have to make sure we play well in all facets of the game, and not just pitching. We’ve got to score runs and play defense.”

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