Baseball preview: Kent, Wheaton North eye DVC three-peat
WHEATON — The Wheaton North baseball team is in the midst of an impressive run of success, which includes back-to-back DuPage Valley Conference championships.
And with a strong core of players returning to the field this spring, the Falcons don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
The squad is led by senior center fielder Ryan Kent, a Morehead State recruit who batted .477 last spring while setting a DVC record with 38 hits. He will again hit leadoff with senior shortstop/third baseman John Peltz batting third.
On the mound, Wheaton North has a lot of depth on paper but not a ton of experience. Seniors Lake Bachar, River Williams, Tom Colletti, Sam Nafziger and Doug Hayes should all receive innings. Colletti, who is expected to also bat in the middle of the order, did not play last year after suffering a torn labrum in his right shoulder during football.
Bachar was 5-1 in 2012, Williams went 3-2 and Nafziger posted a 1.31 ERA.
“We have a decent line-up coming back,” said Wheaton North coach Dan Schoessling. “We have a number of guys that got at-bats last year. We are a little inexperienced on the mound after Lake but we’ve got some high hopes for Sam and Doug as well as River.
“We are confident in our pitching but it is a little bit of an unknown. If our pitchers can show consistency, we will be fine. That will be the key.”
Having been outside just once heading into this week due to the weather, Wheaton North is in the same boat as many area teams. As a result, early season struggles are to be expected.
“It will be one of those years where it takes a little while before it becomes clear who the best teams are,” the coach said. “You might have teams who don’t come into their own until May.”
Once the Falcons do get into games, a major goal will be to extend their title streak in the DVC.
“The conference will be very good,” Schoessling said, “maybe the best it’s been in a while. Naperville Central and Glenbard East are two that stick out, but Glenbard North has two great starting pitchers coming back. Wheaton Warrenville South will be very good and West Chicago’s junior class is very good.”
One thing Schoessling won’t have to worry about is his team being prepared.
“It is a great group to work with,” he said. “They had an excellent offseason, they’ve been very dedicated in everything they’ve done. I’m looking forward to finally seeing what we can do on the field.”