DOWNERS GROVE — Before the season, Chad Isaacson talked about the defensive strength of his infield.
Early in the season, he talked about picking up timely hits, and now the Downers Grove North baseball coach has another area of strength to discuss.
Troy Southard, Mike O’Malley and Lucas Fisher, the team’s West Suburban Silver conference starting pitchers, have helped the Trojans to three series victories and an 8-1 league record.
“We’ve got three guys classified as our conference starters, and all three had varsity experience last year,” Isaacson said. “Troy and Mike pitched in conference games last year and Lucas pitched in our crossovers. They came in ready.”
With Southard, O’Malley and Fisher leading the way on the mound, the Trojans are 11-2 overall and in the thick of the WSS race with Oak Park-River Forest, Glenbard West and Lyons Township. They took two of three games from LT earlier in this season and control their own destiny with series against West (April 27-29) and OPRF (May 4-6) still left on the schedule.
The trio of conference starters don’t necessarily light up the radar guns with overwhelming velocity on their pitches, but they know their strengths and pitch to those strengths.
“I keep the ball low, mostly low and away,” Southard said. “We’re not overpowering guys but we’re mechanically sound. I’m not going to blow it by anybody, so I do it with my offspeed stuff and my location.”
“They pitch to their strengths, which is not giving up any freebies and knowing they have guys behind them that can glove the ball,” Isaacson said. “All three pound the zone.”
Fisher earned the win Monday as North completed a series sweep of Proviso West with an 11-0, five-inning win. Southard won the first game 14-2 in five innings and O’Malley picked up the 19-1 five-inning win in Game 2. Their success and the team’s to this point is no surprise to any of them.
“We’re more excited than surprised,” Southard said. “We knew we had a lot of returning kids and we knew we’d be able to get it done, but there’s still a lot of season left.”
Danny Miller, Dane Zarnowski and Matt Bohanon comprise the rest of the starting rotation. All six pitchers hope to maintain their success as North eyes a conference title. Isaacson won’t let them lose focus. Even after playing nearly flawless ball in the sweep of Proviso West, he was discussing ways his team can improve.
“I told them we have to continue to focus on the details and understand what we need to better,” the coach said. “We still have a long way to go. We’re not even halfway through the schedule. We’ve done a lot of good things, but we have to continue to get better.”