BOLINGBROOK – The plus of having a senior-dominated baseball team during the spring season is the leadership they provide.
The downside is having to build up the team again in time for the next season. It’s a situation Bolingbrook High School’s baseball team is currently facing, which is why the summer baseball season is so important.
“We’re basically going to have a whole new team next year,” head coach Chris Malinoski said. “We lost 14 seniors. We had 14 guys that played together for three or four years, so there’s some chemistry that needs to be replaced. One way to replace it is to play together, and hopefully our guys understand that.”
The Raiders lost experienced starters at almost every position, including a trio of pitchers (Brad Elmore, Mario Samuel and Steve Waldrop) who signed to play in college. Center fielder Nick Sramek will also play in college, and shortstop Kyle Nadres and catcher Scott Foltz are among the other key losses. Their departures will just make roster space for players like Tuff Borland, Julian Huff, Jacob Huff and others who will have increased roles at the varsity level.
From a coach’s perspective, the summer season is a great time to spread around playing time and get an initial read on what the team’s strengths and weaknesses will be come the spring. Malinoski has most wanted to a get a look at his pitching staff, which in addition to Elmore, Samuel and Waldrop also lost John Altemus, Miguel Silva and Matt Jaskowiak.
The Raiders gained a nice building block going into 2014 as they topped Downers Grove North 9-8 in the opening round of summer state playoffs on Monday. It’s the kind of thing that can bring a team closer together, which is exactly what Malinoski hopes happens.
“There’s no substitute for experience and camaraderie,” the coach said. “Having them playing together this summer and then hopefully getting them playing together a little bit in the fall, we should be all right.”