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Baseball and softball players enter spotlight at Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale South

Central's Park and White, South's Basket and Rizzo excel in larger roles this season

Published: Friday, May 10, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:48 a.m. CDT
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(Colin McAuliffe)
Colin McAuliffe – For Suburban Life Media Mike Rizzo stepped into the No. 2 spot in the batting order for Hinsdale South this spring after playing JV last year.
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(Bill Ackerman)
Bill Ackerman – backerman@shawmedia.com Hinsdale Central second baseman Emily Park fields a ground ball against Downers Grove North on April 30 in Hinsdale.

Many high school players are debuting in the spotlight this spring for area baseball and softball teams – from seniors stepping into leadership roles to underclassmen earning starting varsity jobs.

Brittany Basek

School: Hinsdale South softball

Class: Senior

Position: Shortstop

Impact: Basek played at the varsity level in the past but is contributing even more this spring. A second baseman last season, Basek has moved over to the other side of second base and has made the transition look seamless. She also has become one of South’s most consistent hitters, batting out of the leadoff spot. “She’s become more consistent and confident with everything,” head coach Kelly Van Hout said. “She’s really grown as a player, and she makes the hard plays at shortstop look routine.”

Emily Park

School: Hinsdale Central softball

Class: Freshman

Position: Shortstop/second base

Impact: Part of Central’s softball youth movement, Park has been consistent in the field all season at two positions (shortstop when Annemarie Tracey pitches and second base when Courtney Berlin starts) and is getting better with the bat as the season progresses. “She’s a very solid player in the field and she has a very quick bat,” Central coach Lee Maciejewski said. “She’s going to be a four-year player here and she has the opportunity to have a fine career.”

Mike Rizzo

School: Hinsdale South baseball

Class: Senior

Position: Pitcher/first base

Impact: A JV pitcher who had only eight at-bats last spring, Rizzo has stepped up in a big way for the West Suburban Gold-leading Hornets. As of Tuesday’s game against Oak Park-River Forest, he was 4-2 on the mound with one save and a 1.67 ERA in 42 innings of work. He plays first base when not pitching and has been an ideal No. 2 hitter all season. “He plays nice defense and we ask him to do a lot at the plate – take pitches, bunt, hit and run – and he gets it done,” South coach Paul Hoel said.

Jacob White

School: Hinsdale Central baseball

Class: Junior

Position: First base/third base

Impact: Position changes can lead to struggles at the plate, but that hasn’t been the case for White. A middle infielder on the lower levels, White made the switch to corner infielder and excelled. He delivered a game-winning double in the bottom of the seventh inning when the Red Devils topped Lyons Township, 3-2, on Tuesday, and as of that contest he batting .367 and second on the team with two triples and 13 RBIs. “He’s done a nice job making those adjustments in order to be a corner infielder,” Central coach Tom Dorrance said.

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