HINSDALE — After a two-year hiatus from coaching Hinsdale Central baseball, Tom Dorrance returns to the dugout looking to turn their fortunes after a tough 2012.
He's got the weapons to do exactly that, especially on the mound.
"I think we're loaded in the arms department," Dorrance said. "I've never had this much pitching depth. I've been coaching for 23 years and 11 years at the varsity level, and I've never had this much pitching."
Three senior hurlers have committed to play at the Division I level: Christian Bokich (Miami of Ohio), Adam Dressler (Purdue) and Bobby Skogsbergh (Boston College).
Another pitcher, Tom Concklin, has committed to Division III Washington and Lee University. Basil Arain provides a left-hander on the mound and Austin Butler, Andrew Eck and Aaron Walsh add to the pitching depth.
"All these rainouts aren't going to hurt us because we have so many guys that can throw the ball well," Dorrance said. "I think our No. 4 and 5 pitchers are better than other teams' fours and fives."
The pitching staff will be even better with Tyler Ward bringing a wealth of experience to the catcher position. Matt Silk, who was hampered by injuries last season, will be a key to the defense at shortstop. The defense could in turn be key to keeping the Red Devils competitive.
"I think second base and third base were kind of a revolving door last year," Dorrance said. "Last year we committed over 100 errors. We've got to clean that up if we're going to compete."
Dorrance said that because of the weather, Central has been outside to practice just three times. "The defense is still a question mark, but we're working on it," he said.
Dorrance is also preaching a new approach at the plate that will hopefully reverse Central's inability to come up with clutch hits last year.
"We're teaching patience at the plate," Dorrance said. "Good balance, good hand speed and don't commit until the ball gets deep in the zone. Trust your hands and trust your bat speed and hit the ball to the right side."
When Dorrance was named head coach in December, he met with his players and asked for some preliminary goals for this season. From then to now, the goals have gone from have fun and have a good season to winning conference and competing for a state title. It's a testament to the kinds of players he is coaching.
"It's a great group of kids. Any one of them you'd want to take them home and feed them dinner," Dorrance said. "I've enjoyed the last few weeks even though we've been inside almost the whole time."
Meet the Red Devils
Coach: Tom Dorrance
2012 record: 13-24 (4-14 West Suburban Silver)
Basil Arain sr. P
Christian Bokich sr. P
Chris Botsoe so. CF/1B
Tom Concklin sr. P/3B
Adam Dressler sr. P
Matt Silk sr. SS
Bobby Skogsbergh sr. P
Tyler Ward sr. C
Next game: 10 a.m. Saturday vs. Proviso West