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State champ Lisle baseball plays short summer season, Benet bolsters pitching staff

LISLE – After playing 35 games and winning a state title in the spring, Lisle’s baseball team took a well-deserved breather this summer.

While most teams played, or at least scheduled upwards of 20 games in the summer, the Lions and head coach Pete Meyer held back a little bit, playing just 10 games. Maybe not as many games played as the competition, but enough to make the summer season useful as the Lions look to defend their state title next spring.

“We got a chance to see what the young guys have and see what we’ve got for next year,” Meyer said. “We got a chance to see what’s there, that’s the main reason you do it.”

Pitchers Alex Ventrella and Ryan Van Volkenburg, infielder Brian Czyl, outfielder Adam Grego and designated hitter Jordan Herman were assets to the state championship team, but they have graduated and moved on.

In that regard, the summer season was an important time for juniors like Kevin Coppin, Bailey Welch, Cliff Krause and Jake Oard.

“We had six seniors that provided a lot of leadership in the spring,” Meyer said. “A lot of the juniors realized that now it’s their turn to lead us.”

Benet bolsters pitching

At Benet, head coach Scott Lawler had a 10-4 record entering Monday’s summer playoff opener against Naperville Central and was pleased with how the Redwings’ summer progressed.

“We’ve been able to play a lot of people,” Lawler said. “Our record is 10-4, but we have sophomore, JV and varsity teams playing. We also had our camp on Mondays and Thursdays, so we’ve had the chance to see a lot of guys.”

Lawler said the summer has been successful in terms of seeing the potential for next spring’s varsity team. Based on summer ball, pitching could be a major strength for the Redwings next year. Jack Brunk, Cole Channell, Matt Emerick, Connor Hayes, John Kruppe, Pat Peterson and Mike Powers have all seen significant mound time this summer.

That group should bolster next spring’s varsity roster, which should include East Suburban Catholic all-conference players and Division I baseball recruits Joe Boyle (Northern Illinois University) and Chris Whelan (Bradley). Lawler sees next year’s pitching staff going at least eight deep, and he said the summer is also crucial for building team chemistry.

“That’s my whole thing,” Lawler said. “Everybody plays travel ball on the weekends and I think that’s great, but they’re with me Monday through Thursday and all that helps them have team chemistry.”

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