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Carol Stream

Pitching powers Panthers in 2014 season

Glenbard North's Kyle Crites delivers a pitch in a game last season. Crites is one of several frontline starting pitchers returning for the Panthers this spring.
Glenbard North's Kyle Crites delivers a pitch in a game last season. Crites is one of several frontline starting pitchers returning for the Panthers this spring.

CAROL STREAM – A strong pitching staff helped Glenbard North’s baseball team to a 19-win campaign last spring.

That same formula is expected again this spring for the Panthers, who welcome back a trio of formidable starters. Matt Albin pitched in 12 games last season, notching two wins and three saves while striking out 42 batters in 40 2/3 innings. Kyle Crites was 4-1 in 36 1/3 innings, and Luke Greenberg (2-1 record and 1.72 ERA) impressed after being called up to the varsity.

“We return three starting pitchers, and that’s nice to have,” Glenbard North coach Rich Smelko said. “And we have five or six guys who we feel pretty confident in who can throw strikes and get outs for us.”

Smelko expects the defense to be solid, though the team returns one main position player – outfielder Nolan Jasinski.

The key for the Panthers will be on the offensive side of things as scoring runs has been an issue at times in the recent past.

Jasinski batted .353 last spring and leads a lineup filled with new faces.

“I’m looking for quality at-bats, good at-bats,” the coach said. “We are not a team who will be pounding the ball over the fence. We will be moving base to base for the most part. I do think we have a bunch of guys who are good contact hitters. We just have to string a few hits together consistently.”

Albin, Chris Murray, Sam Ledbetter and Jim Krippinger are expected to occupy the middle infield and third base. Alex Barrett plays first base, and Greenberg, Gary Santos and Colin MacGaffey, along with Jasinski and others, will see time in the outfield. Eric Orze handles the catching duties.

“These are good kids who work hard,” Smelko said. “They like to compete and get after it.”

Glenbard North was third in the DuPage Valley conference standings last spring with a 14-7 mark. Naperville Central returns as the defending champion while Lake Park enters the league after winning the Upstate Eight Valley division title.

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