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Defensive depth will help Hinsdale Central baseball

HINSDALE – Heading into the 2013 season, pitching was the No. 1 asset for Hinsdale Central’s baseball team.

The Red Devils had three Division I starters – Christian Bokich (Miami of Ohio), Adam Dressler (Purdue) and Bobby Skogsbergh (Boston College) – and depth in the bullpen.

The pitching staff will have a new look this spring as Jason Ziemer enters his first season as Central’s head coach after seven years at Proviso West.

Charlie Banke, Austin Butler and Nick Senicka combined to throw 27 innings last year. Senior Max Peters and juniors Ben Chapman, Tom Lorenc and Dan Teska are expected to be a part of the pitching staff. Matt Muellner will catch.

It’s a different story behind the mound and plenty of experience returns defensively.

“In the infield, we have experienced seniors at almost every position,” Ziemer said.

Peters at third base, shortstop Ryan Haff and first baseman Jacob White all return. Haff played second base most of last season but will slide over to shortstop to accommodate Matt Bruns at second.

Louisville recruit Chris Botsoe returns to center field after batting .444 with 25 runs scored and 11 stolen bases last season. He brings more than just the bat, although – he committed just two errors last season.

“We have an experienced infield defensively, and offensively I think we’ll hit,” Ziemer said. “I think it will come down to our pitching. If we can throw strikes and make other teams put the ball in play, I think we’ll be fine.”

In terms of overall play, aggressive is the word Ziemer wants to get across.

“I want them to them to be aggressive in all facets of the game,” Ziemer said. “Be aggressive in the strike zone as far as pitchers go. We want the kids to be aggressive offensively and defensively. If they make a mistake, we want them to make an aggressive mistake.”

His tenure at Proviso West made Ziemer keenly aware of the grind of playing in the West Suburban Silver conference. Teams like Lyons Township and Oak Park-River Forest are perennially some of the top squads in the state, and Downers Grove North and Glenbard West are always competitive.

“We’re going to take it one game at a time,” Ziemer said. “We have 35 games in a month and a half, so we know we have to take them one at a time.”

Hinsdale Central Red Devils

Coach: Jason Ziemer

2013 record: 17-14

Top players:

Charlie Banke sr. P

Chris Botsoe jr. CF

Austin Butler sr. P

Ryan Haff sr. SS

Matt Muellner sr. C

Nick Senicka sr. P

Jacob White sr. 1B

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