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Wheaton North enters baseball season with revamped roster

Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 3:08 p.m. CST
Caption
(Shaw Media file photo)
Wheaton North's Jeff Harper leads off first base during a game last year. Harper is one of just a few players with experience returning to the lineup this season.

WHEATON – The Wheaton North baseball team fell a couple wins short of another DuPage Valley Conference crown last spring but still finished with an impressive 27 victories.

Now the Falcons return to the diamond this season as a much less experienced squad that has some questions to be answered over the next couple of months.

“We don’t have a lot of varsity experience coming back, especially on the mound,” Wheaton North coach Dan Schoessling said. “Our defense and pitching will have to step up if we are to compete for a DVC title.”

Indeed, Wheaton North will have virtually an entirely new pitching staff after the graduation of Lake Bachar, Tom Colletti, Doug Hayes and Sam Nafziger. That quartet combined for 22 victories and over 215 innings in 2013.

Stephen Crane and Ben Cary both threw around 10 innings last spring while Nick Traversa and Charles Robin each made two appearances. Michael Mannix and Sam Lawrence could also factor into the pitching mix.

Offensively, Wheaton North does return a group that received varsity at-bats a year ago.

Third baseman Greg Scandora hit .258 with 14 runs scored and seven RBIs as a junior while outfielder Jeff Harper batted .267 with 17 RBIs and 17 runs scored. Mannix and Zach Leander also each had over 50 plate appearances and Jacob Taschetta hit .385 in 39 at-bats, though Taschetta is out until early May with a knee injury. Mike Muto (32 plate appearances) is also back.

As far as the DuPage Valley Conference, the league looks loaded especially with the addition of a Lake Park squad which won 27 games in 2013 and captured a share of the Upstate Eight Valley division title. Defending champ Naperville Central will be strong again with Naperville North, Wheaton Warrenville South and Glenbard North also fighting for the top spots. The Falcons posted a 15-6 mark in the league last year.

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