LISLE – With one year of college left, Ryan Hinchley is trying to enjoy his final experiences.
For example, Hinchley is taking part in his final summer of baseball. The York graduate and UIC senior is playing for the DuPage County Hounds for the second summer in a row to gear up for his final season of college ball with the Flames.
The Hounds play at Benedictine University in the Midwest Collegiate League and provide college players like Hinchley a place to play during the offseason. Most of the players in the league, like Hinchley, are from the Chicago area, giving them a chance to play close to home. Others live with host families for the duration of the approximately two-month season.
"I love it," Hinchley said. "It brings really good competition and it's a great venue to play at. The owners do a really great job of making this a fun environment for fans that come out to see it. It's fun for them and it makes it more fun for us to play."
The MCL also has teams in Chicago, Flossmoor, Joliet, Lexington and Whiting, Indiana (the Northwest Indiana Oilmen). The Hounds currently sit in first place in the six-team league. The playoffs start at the end of the month.
As a pitcher, Hinchley has certain things he is trying to work on to improve his game. He enjoyed his experience playing in the league last summer and decided to return to the Hounds for a second season.
"The competition is really good here," Hinchley said. "Everybody comes into the summer with a mission of working on this or that. Last summer I did a really good job of accomplishing what I needed to work on."
Before heading into his final year on campus, Hinchley is hoping to leave the Flames' program a winner. The Flames have finished just under .500 overall in each of the past two seasons while posting winning records in the Horizon League.
"As a team we're trying to win the conference and go to a regional," Hinchley said. "That's been the pursuit the last few years I've been there. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to accomplish that yet, but we have a really good roster. Good personalities that all work really hard so I'm really looking forward to that."
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