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.
School: Nazareth baseball
Impact: The speedster led the Roadrunners in runs scored last season despite being used almost exclusively as a pinch runner. This season he's still scoring at a high clip with 19 runs entering the weekend, but is also earning his runs with his play at the plate. Jackson is hitting .326 (14-for-43) and has added another weapon to Nazareth's offense.
School: Lyons Township baseball
Impact: The St. Joseph College (Ind.) commit started as a junior and has built on that experience to become LT's best run producer in the first half of the season. Lorenz has a team-high 25 runs scored and has managed 17 RBIs, tied for the team lead, from the No. 2 hole in the LT batting order. Lorenz also has been a danger on the base paths with 18 stolen bases in 19 attempts. The right fielder was also hitting .352 entering Monday's game against Hinsdale Central.
School: St. Joseph baseball
Position: First base
Impact: Moritz was a quality starter last season, but the senior has become the team's leader in RBIs and a key pitcher. Moritz has three wins and a 1.63 ERA on the mound and a .356 batting average with 15 RBIs.
School: Lyons Township softball
Impact: Morrissey has not only handled the move to catcher this season, but has improved her offensive game dramatically from a year ago. As a sophomore Morrissey hit below .200, but is now the Lions' leading hitter. Through May 2 Morrissey was hitting .390 and has been a steady backstop for LT.
School: Nazareth softball
Impact: Ritacco didn't take long to claim the leadoff hitter spot as her own. The freshman hit safely in 18 of Nazareth's first 23 games and is sporting a .380 batting average.