VILLA PARK – Following the abrupt end to the spring season, the summer has been one filled with positive signs for Willowbrook.
After losing the playoff opener in the spring, the returning Warriors were eager to get back on the field for summer ball, and the resulting play has coach Vic Wisner excited.
“My senior leadership this summer has been the best I’ve ever seen,” Wisner said. “A lot of young guys have stepped up. Our sophomores won a conference championship, so they have an idea what it’s like to win. They’ve put a lot of pressure on the guys who are playing to make them better. Honestly, it’s been one of my more enjoyable summers just watching them grow.”
Wisner described the team as his kind of players, grind it out “dirtbag” ballplayers. Seniors Mike Rothmund, T.J. Case and A.J. Nolen are among the expected core for the spring, while younger players like Matt Pizur have emerged.
Rothmund, the 6-foot-5 first baseman from Lombard, has received interest from Division I programs and is relishing the leadership role.
“It feels different,” Rothmund said. “The last day of junior year I was like, ‘I’m a senior now.’ It went in a flash. I’m glad to be a senior because I can move on in baseball and play in college.”
Case has become the team’s ace over the summer, but Pizur, just a sophomore, has shown big potential. Getting his first taste of varsity-level baseball, Pizur has more than held his own and fired a complete game against Montini in an 8-2 win in a regional quarterfinal of the summer state playoffs on Tuesday.
After playing at the freshman level in the spring, Pizur has handled the jump both on and off the field.
“It feels good to be playing out here with good competition,” Pizur said. “My teammates are great. In the beginning you don’t really know anyone, but they welcome you right in.”