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Tigers break in next crop during summer season

WHEATON – Pitching was the known strength of Wheaton Warrenville South's baseball team heading into the 2014 season and for the most part, that staff lived up to its billing.

But it was inconsistent hitting which proved to be the biggest issue for the Tigers, who wrapped up the campaign with a 15-14 record.

"It is one of those things, we finished a game over .500 but it felt better than that," WWS coach Tim Brylka said. "It's a group that we thought we could do things with because of our pitching staff. Defense was a question mark going into it but I thought defensively, we were pretty good.

"We just had some cold spells with the bat, and that was a little disappointing. And baserunning, we were not real good on the bases and that is something we are focusing on this summer."

Leading the pitching staff was a trio of seniors in Brett Struebing, Baylor Holmes and Connor Ostrander.

"Brett was outstanding and Baylor had a good year," Brylka said, "and Connor gave us a ton of innings and a bunch of great starts."

As a whole, the senior class will be tough to replace. Seven will be lost to graduation, six of whom played on a regular basis.

"We had great senior leadership," the coach said. "They were a blast to be around and it's a group we will miss. The juniors coming up have big shoes to fill as far as that goes."

However, the cupboard is fare from bare as the Tigers will return a strong junior class, headlined by shortstop Eric Giltz and catcher Justin Kelly. Chris Simpson and Austin Polezoes will bring back experience on the mound, as will Ben Flores in the outfield.

"Eric and Justin will be the anchors for us," Brylka said, "and we have two arms we feel pretty good about."

Next up is the summer season. The Tigers are doing something a little different this summer season with games scheduled only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

"We don't get a look at the underclassmen throughout the year," Brylka said, "so this is a chance for us to see what we've got and help us make some decisions heading into the winter."

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