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Caballero stars as starter after pitching relief last year

Published: Friday, May 17, 2013 2:01 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:49 a.m. CDT

LEMONT – From his seat at U.S. Cellular Field on May 12, Cody Caballero hoped to pick up a tip or two as he watched left-handed pitchers Chris Sale and CJ Wilson go up against each other.

But the way the Lemont senior has been throwing this spring, he doesn’t appear to need much help.

Primarily a reliever a year ago, the lefty has excelled in his move to the starting rotation, compiling an 8-1 record after recording the win May 14 in a 10-0 rout over Hillcrest.

“I was hoping to start more games this year,” Caballero said, “and as it turns out, I’ve gotten a lot of them.”

Not the hardest thrower on the staff, he relies instead on control and changing speeds. Caballero has only walked five batters on the season and has compiled an ERA of 1.27.

“I don’t throw as hard as a Jake Latz (Lemont junior who is committed to LSU),” he said, “so I concentrate on getting ahead and throwing a lot of strikes. And when it comes to the second and third times through the batting order, I start off with curveballs and change-ups. I work backwards.

“I trust every single person on our defense. If I’m getting groundballs, I trust them to make the plays.”

At times this spring, Caballero has been downright dominant, evidenced by a no-hitter against TF South and a one-hitter against Bremen.

“The no-hitter is definitely my highlight,” he said. “I’ve never had a no-hitter before. I was getting ahead and my offense came out and scored early.”

The senior’s contributions have helped Lemont to a 19-4 mark this spring and a South Suburban Blue conference title.

“Coach [Brian Storako]keeps us in games and puts the best lineups out there to win,” said Caballero, who hopes to continue playing in college and has talked to Concordia, Elmhurst, Dominican and North Central. “The offense comes around when we need it, the defense is solid and our pitching, when we get ahead, we win a lot of games.”

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