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Summer success surpasses Wildcats' expectations

WEST CHICAGO – The West Chicago baseball team will take plenty of momentum into the Upstate Eight Conference next spring after putting together an outstanding summer campaign.

With six starters returning to the field, the Wildcats posted a mark of 17-5 during the regular season, capping off that strong play by winning a 16-team wood bat tournament last week. The squad then opened the playoffs with a 3-1 win over Oswego East on Monday.

"It was beyond our expectations," coach Dan McCarthy said. "We played exceptionally well. I'm very happy. We have a lot of kids coming back: our entire infield, our catcher, one one our outfielders."

In the wood bat event, West Chicago beat St. Charles East, Batavia and Larkin in pool play before defeating Conant, 11-0, in the semifinals and Kaneland, 5-4, in the championship.

That tournament was the culmination of a 16-team summer league that the Wildcats played in for the first time. Split into two divisions, West Chicago finished in second place during the regular season, a half game behind St. Charles North.

"To win that tournament, there were no slouches in there," the coach said. "We beat Batavia, who will be one of the top-ranked teams next year, and St. Charles East, who finished third in Class 4A last spring."

The offense was strong throughout the summer, led by Connor Dall and Ryan Koester.

"Connor hit over .500 in the summer," McCarthy said. "He is getting a lot of notice from Division I schools and I am glad to have him for two more years. Austin Kordik also had a great year at-bat in the summer.

The major questions coming into the summer focused on the pitching staff, especially after ace Mike Zajac recently graduated, but most of those were answered.

"Dave Kordik had a big summer, he was almost unhittable," McCarthy said. "I'm expecting him to be our No. 1 starter based on the summer he had. And we got solid contributions from some guys who I hadn't seen before, guys from the sophomore team. Fred Gosbeth threw extremely well as did Peyton Seidler and Alex Cabral. Those kids did a great job.

"I'm extremely satisfied and happy with where we are at."

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