WHEATON – Rainy weather and traveling team commitments made this a challenging summer for Tim Brylka and his Wheaton Warrenville South baseball squad.
But the Tigers head coach was still able to reap some benefits.
"It's a time to evaluate a little bit," Brylka said, "and see what you've got for next spring. Our pitching will be OK; we have pitchers coming back and our catcher is coming back and our outfield will be fine. Our question marks are in the infield."
Wheaton Warrenville South finished the summer campaign with an 8-8-1 record after losing, 6-4, to Wheaton North on Monday in the opening round of the playoffs. The Tigers played without three starters in Eric Giltz, Baylor Holmes and Justin Kelly, all of whom were away at a travel tournament.
"We have who we have," the coach said, "and it's an opportunity for somebody else to step up and take advantage of the chance. It's great for them. I try not to look at it as a negative but as a positive."
The strength of the 2014 squad should no doubt be the pitching staff, headlined by Holmes, Brett Struebing and Conner Ostrander. That trio combined for 136 innings pitched and 13 wins last spring.
Offensively, the Tigers return a solid core in Giltz (.358 average, 19 RBIs in 2013), Kelly (18 RBIs) and Ostrander (12 RBIs).
"I think we will be able to do things to put pressure on other teams," Brylka said.
Incoming juniors who might have played themselves into roles next spring included outfielder Jack Demsher, infielder Ben Flores and pitchers Austin Polezoes and Chris Simpson.