LA GRANGE PARK – Jake Bartels and Brandon Bossard represent two different sides of the scale for Nazareth baseball.
Bartels is a senior in his fourth year on varsity who plays first base, pitches and bats clean up for the Roadrunners. Bossard is an up and coming sophomore who plays third, pitches and bats in the No. 3 hole for Nazareth.
The Roadrunners finished up the weekend with a 15-4 record and both players have been crucial to the strong start.
"I think coming in we had big expectations for ourselves," Bartels said. "I definitely think we're right where we want to be. We're starting to peak a little bit offensively."
Bartels, who was also a quarterback on the football team, has Division I baseball offers, Cincinnati among them, and is hoping to make his decision soon. He finished the weekend hitting .393.
While Bartels is finishing up his recruitment and his high school career, Bossard is just getting started. The sophomore infielder was on the varsity team last year, but mostly pitched. This season he is a part of the lineup and making an impact right away.
The Nazareth coaching staff put him right into the No. 3 hole in the lineup and Bossard has rewarded the decision. A recent slump has seen his batting average dip just below .300, but after Saturday's doubleheader against St. Viator he had 11 RBIs and 19 runs scored in 19 games.
Before the season Naz coach Lee Milano hyped Bossard as possibly the best player in the state in the Class of 2016. Despite playing a big role on the team as the only sophomore starter, Bossard has focused on staying humble.
"I know some other sophomores start on varsity and I hear stories how some of them are cocky and I don't want to be one of those kids," Bossard said. "I'm more of a low key kid. I know my role and I know how to keep doing my job for this team."
That attitude has helped him quickly earn the respect of his teammates.
"Brandon has done an excellent job," Bartels said. "We knew coming in that he was going to be a good player for us on the mound and in the field and at the plate. He's done that so far. He's definitely well deserved in the three spot."
Bossard hasn't felt the pressure of hitting in the middle of the order since he's used to that from playing with his travel team. He felt playing for the Roadrunners was worth making the trek from Lemont, following in the footsteps of his sister who also went to Nazareth.
"This baseball program is just amazing," Bossard said. "I love the coaching staff. Coach Milano and all of the coaches never yell at you. They're really cool about things and that's why I love playing here."
St. Viator 6, Nazareth 3
• Matt Flach: 1-for-2, RBI, R, BB, SB
• Jake Bartels: 2-for-4
Nazareth 4, St. Viator 3
• Bartels: 6 IP, 1 R, 8 K, 2 BB, 6 H; 4-for-4, HR
• Ryan Kramer: 2-for-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI