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Good fortune swings AT’s way

SIU-recruit returns from injury as Blazers sweep series vs. Pirates

ADDISON — Things are looking up for Addison Trail baseball for two reasons.

First, the Blazers swept Proviso East in the first West Suburban Gold series of the season. Second, Southern Illinois-recruit Nick Rybarczyk is back from injury as a designated hitter and further reinforcements are on the way.

The Blazers beat the Pirates by more than 10 runs in each game. Jordan Garcia continued to hit well with four hits in Game 1 and 10 for the series. Joe Kurucar struck out nine and allowed just one hit in four innings on the mound in the opener.

“We did what we had to do, played solid baseball and walked away with three wins,” said coach Steve Gilliam.

Rybarczyk returned to the lineup with a pair of multi-hit games. He isn’t expected to return to catcher for at least another few weeks, but having his presence back in the lineup has made a big difference.

“It’s a great relief,” Gilliam said. “It’s the guy that has the most varsity experience from last year’s team. He’s a Division I baseball player so it’s very helpful to have him back.”

Gilliam expects more players back in the fold over the next week as players return from injuries and suspensions. Getting Rybarczyk back behind the plate would be the final piece to getting the Blazers back to 100 percent.

“Once we get Nick behind the plate that will allow us some more flexibility with our pitching staff and moving some guys around,” Gilliam said. “That’s the direction that we’re looking to move to, but in the mean time we’re still looking to play solid baseball.”

AT plays at Wheaton North, which already has double-digit wins, on Friday before a three-game conference series with Willowbrook. The Blazers will host Saturday’s doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. and will play the Monday game in Villa Park.

The two teams share a bit of a rivalry due to being in the same district, but there’s more to it than a shared school board for Gilliam.

“I coached 18 years over there so there’s a lot of familiarity for me,” Gilliam said.

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