DOWNERS GROVE – Downers Grove North’s baseball team may look quite different this spring, but one thing never changes, and that one thing should once again keep the Trojans competitive.
“The No. 1 thing is they’re working,” head coach Chad Isaacson said. “In the time I’ve been doing this, the kids have always been great workers. They’re getting their work in every day to get ready to play.”
While losing players like shortstop Connor Kopach, catcher Matt Zabloudil, designated hitter Jack Goergen, outfielders James Sheldon and David Henson and pitchers Troy Southard, Mike O’Malley and Lucas Fisher to graduation will sting, North certainly has some key pieces in place.
Ray Greco and Joe Provenzano are both entering their third year as varsity players. Greco returns to his spot at second base while Provenzano is slated to move over from third base to shortstop. Paul Cappetta, Myles Farley and Danny Wilk are likely to also be a key cogs in the infield.
“We have options there, that’s the nice thing,” Isaacson said. “We can move guys around and play different guys at different positions.”
On the mound, Matt Bohanon returns after seeing significant action last spring and winning a regional playoff game. Danny Miller, who saw time as both a starter and reliever last year, and Dane Zarnowski also return to the hill.
Emil Baftirovski is back in left field, but the other two outfield spots will be manned by newcomers. Patrick Geraghty, Jake Maurer and Brett Pyburn figure to be in the mix.
No matter who ends up playing at which positions, the keys to victory remain the same.
“We have to be able to throw strikes and make the game move,” Isaacson said. “[Our pitchers] have to keep the ball down and make the infielders work. Our infielders know the ball is going to be put in play and they have to glove it.
“Pitching and defense, that’s what we have to be able to do.”
The Trojans were in contention for the West Suburban Silver title last spring and finished 12-6 in the league as they went on to win a regional title. They hope to be in the same position this year. As always, it won’t be a cakewalk in what is one of the deepest and most competitive conferences in the state.
“Top to bottom, our conference is competitive,” Isaacson said. “We know there are no easy days. The [conference] crossovers, we know there are no easy days.
“We have good kids and we just want to get better day by day.”
Downers Grove North Trojans
Coach: Chad Isaacson
2013 record: 22-12, regional champs
Emil Baftirovski sr. OF/P
Matt Bohanon sr. OF/P
Ray Greco sr. 2B
Joe Provenzano sr. SS
Dane Zarnowski sr. P