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Blazers seek confidence after rough start

AT baseball enters conference play with 1-4 record

ADDISON — After three forgettable losses, the Addison Trail baseball team got on the winning track Monday against Maine West.

The Blazers started the season with three lopsided defeats that didn’t inspire confidence in the young team. AT lost to Romeoville 6-1 on March 27, Elk Grove 11-4 the next day and 7-0 at Lyons Township on Saturday.

As coach Steve Gilliam pointed out, the Blazers found different ways to lose each game.

“First game we played great defense, didn’t hit,” Gilliam said. “Second game we didn’t play good defense and we hit. Third game we did neither so we’ve had a little bit of everything so far.”

Monday’s 6-5 win over Maine West ended the early season slump. The Blazers fell to West Chicago 15-3 on Wednesday.

The Blazers are short a few regulars, including standout catcher Nick Rybarczyk, so younger players have been forced into bigger roles early in the season. AT’s youth got a taste of top-level competition Saturday at Lyons Township, one of the top-ranked teams in the state.

“When you go against the No. 1 team in the state you can’t give extra opportunities away and we did that at times,” Gilliam said. “We didn’t do much offensively, but we’re working through that.”

Seniors Jordan Garcia and Bradley Schonder have been bright spots at the top of the order. Joe Kurucar and Zack Dowz each had two hits in the win over the Warriors.

“We’re struggling in the beginning, but that happens sometimes,” Garcia said. “I think we’re finding it. A lot of kids don’t have confidence right now, but everybody will find it. I’m sure we’ll be fine.

“(The juniors) are going to go through the struggles, but that will make them stronger. They get more experience and they’ll be fine. I went through the same thing.”

AT has a good opportunity to pick up some wins early in the conference season. They open West Suburban Gold play with three games against Proviso East this weekend and face Willowbrook the next weekend. Both teams were swept in conference series last weekend.

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