LISLE — Benet's baseball team just might be the envy of any ballclub in the area.
Not because the Redwings have a pair of Division I players and not because they have a roster comprised of 28 players, but because they had actually been able to play a game.
Benet led 5-0 over host St. Rita March 17 before falling 6-5, but at least the Redwings increased their outdoor exposure exponentially in the game.
"Besides our game, we've been outside for a half hour," coach Scott Lawler said. "We still have some guys that haven't seen a ground ball. The challenge is staying patient. They got some of the nerves out (against St. Rita), but a lot of them are still learning about the varsity level."
Though the Redwings are relatively inexperienced when it comes to varsity action, they have the right pieces in the right places. Pat McInerney (Illinois) and Chris Whelan (Bradley) are both headed to Division I schools, and both pitch, leading a staff that Lawler said will be eight or nine players deep.
When he doesn't pitch, Whelan plays the all-important shortstop position. Kevin Jendra brings experience behind the plate, and Joe Boyle anchors the left side of the infield at third base. The rest of the lineup will come into focus as the season progresses.
"We'll fiddle with some stuff the more we play," Lawler said. "Right now we're not sure how we're going to use some of these guys, but when we get some games in and get into the bulk of our schedule we'll have a better idea."
Winning double-digit ESCC games is a primary goal for Benet, but it won't be easy in a conference that sent two teams (Nazareth and Marian) to the Class 3A state tournament and had Marist advance to the the Elite Eight in Class 4A. Lawler is also hoping to do better than last year's 3-2 loss to Plainfield North in the regional championship.
"We want to go further than we did last year and win double-digit games, and I think we can do that," Lawler said.
Meet the Redwings
Coach: Scott Lawler
2012 record: 19-17 (10-6 East Suburban Catholic Conference)
Joe Boyle jr. 3B
Pat McInerney sr. P/1B
Kevin Jendra sr. C
Chris Whelan jr. P/SS
Next game: 11 a.m. Wednesday at York
83 Runs the Redwings scored in 16 conference games last spring, an average of 5.2 per game