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Breakout stars: Improved diamond players for LT, Naz, Fenwick, RB and Morton

Published: Thursday, May 15, 2014 5:00 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:52 p.m. CST
Caption
(Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com)
Riverside Brookfield's Xander Catrambone beats out the throw to first base in Friday's game against Glenbard South. The leadoff hitter and center fielder has had a big impact for the Bulldogs this season.
Caption
(Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com)
Nazareth's Matt Flach makes contact in an April 25 game against St. Joseph. Flach has provided a spark at the top of the Roadrunners' order and plays solid defense as a center fielder.

Every spring offers a chance for baseball and softball players to impact their teams more than they ever have before. Here are a few of the players having breakout seasons on the diamond.

Name: Xander Catrambone

School: Riverside Brookfield

Class: Senior

Position: Center field

Impact: After playing sparingly as a junior, Catrambone has stepped up to be RB's leadoff hitter this season. The senior brings plenty of speed to the lineup and utilizes that speed defensively as he covers a lot of ground in center field.

Name: Mia Davis

School: Nazareth

Class: Sophomore

Position: Infield/outfield

Impact: Davis is a sophomore on a young Nazareth team, but like many of her teammates is a varsity returner. This season, however, she is having an even bigger impact than she did last season. She has moved into the No. 3 hole in the order and is hitting .429 since the start of May.

Name: Matt Flach

School: Nazareth

Class: Junior

Position: Center field

Impact: In his first year on varsity, Flach has locked down the leadoff hitter spot while playing reliably in center field. He has provided speed at the top of the Roadrunners' order and even hit a grand slam in a game against Holy Trinity on April 16.

Name: Kendall Hastings

School: Riverside Brookfield

Class: Sophomore

Position: Infield/outfield

Impact: Picking up where her older sister Emily, currently a freshman at SIU-Edwardsville, left off, Kendall Hastings is hitting for a ridiculous average. In her second year on varsity, Hastings has taken it up a notch and was hitting .534 entering May 8.

Name: Thomas Hickey

School: Lyons Township

Class: Junior

Position: Pitcher

Impact: Hickey has emerged as the No. 1 pitcher for the Lions this season and has played a key role as the team has recovered from a slow start in the West Suburban Silver to battle for the conference title. In five conference starts he has a 4-0 record and has allowed just three earned runs in 36 innings over that span.

Name: Bobby Hogan

School: Fenwick

Class: Senior

Position: Outfield

Impact: Considering Hogan began the season at the Friars' No. 3 hitter, it's probably not a big surprise that he has been one of the top run producers on the team. In the first six games of May, Hogan was 6-for-18 at the plate with eight RBIs and six runs scored.

Name: Luis Rivera

School: Morton

Class: Junior

Position: Pitcher/infield

Impact: Rivera is a varsity returner for the Mustangs, but he has taken his pitching game to another level this season. In three conference starts against Leyden, Hinsdale South and Addison Trail, Rivera didn't allow an earned run and racked up 18 strikeouts.

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