DOWNERS GROVE – The summer baseball season is crucial for high school coaches.
Even though the spring season won’t start until March, the summer is prime time for coaches to get a glimpse of the talent that will be on hand come March. Sometimes that’s easier said than done thanks to Mother Nature.
“The unfortunate thing is we’ve lost 10 games this summer” Downers Grove North coach Chad Isaacson said. “There was one week we had four of five games washed out. We’ve played nowhere near as many as we have in the past.”
Even with weather playing a role, Isaacson and Downers Grove South coach Darren Orel have both made the most of their time with their players this summer.
After losing Division I players and front-of-the-rotation pitchers Zach Burdi, Brian Glowicki and Danny Mayer, as well as wins leader Nick Alfini, to graduation, Orel said the summer season has been especially crucial for next season’s potential pitchers.
“I think our pitchers have benefited more than our position players,” Orel said. “Usually you don’t say that because you’re usually stretched thin at pitcher, but we’ve had such strong pitching the last couple years that it’s been hard to develop kids.”
In order to get a grasp on what the rotation could offer next spring, Orel said that he has at times switched pitchers every inning of a game. As such, Chris Pedrak, Matt Zinnecker, Nick McKinney, Ryan Jordan, Anthony Vattimo, Joe Becht and Danny Spinuzza have all seen action on the mound.
“For us, the summer is a time to evaluate what we have and try to answer some questions and figure out what we have and what we need to focus on,” Orel said. “It’s not what our record is or what your ERA is, it’s all about evaluation, and from that standpoint summer ball is outstanding. This is probably one of the most positive summers I’ve had as a coach.”
Evaluation is a big part of the summer for Isaacson, but just as big a part of the season is getting players on board with what they can expect from varsity ball in the spring.
“As coaches we try to implement a daily routine so they all understand – pitchers, catchers, infielders, outfielders – the stuff we do every single day,” Isaacson said. “We try to get a head start on that daily routine so we can hit the ground running in the spring.”