Christian Bokich and Adam Dressler were teammates on Hinsdale Central's baseball team last spring but then went their separate ways after graduation.
Bokich continued his career at Miami of Ohio while Dressler landed with Purdue.
This summer they are once again teammates with the DuPage County Hounds of the Midwest Collegiate League.
In fact, Bokich and Dressler are just two of the many players who competed in the West Suburban Conference that play for the Hounds. Ryan Hinchley played for York High School, Connor Kopach played at Downers Grove North and Nick Alfini graduated from Downers Grove South.
"It's so good to be around guys from different schools and a lot of guys from the area," Bokich said. "A lot of us played against each other in high school and we were almost like rivals, but now we're together and we laugh about how we played in the West Suburban Conference. We have a lot of fun and the camaraderie is unbelievable."
Going from being on-field rivals to teammates hasn't been a difficult for Dressler to make.
"This team, I just love these guys, and there's actually some guys I played against in high school so I get to see them again except now we're on the same team," he said. "It's been a lot of fun."
As for on the field, both Bokich and Dressler both have the same goals in mind this summer, and those are to build arm strength and hone their pitching repertoires. In that regard, the summer has been nothing but a success for each of them.
Both said they can feel their arms getting stronger and their pitches getting a little sharper.
"I'm developing my knuckle-change a lot this summer," Bokich said. "It's my best pitch, it's my out pitch and honestly, I don't think I threw it enough this spring. So this summer I've been throwing it a lot as my strikeout pitch and even in counts where batters wouldn't expect it. I've really been developing my change and off speed stuff especially, but also my velocity."
Dressler's aim is to earn a starting spot for the Boilermakers after seeing time primarily as a reliever this spring. He feels playing for the Hounds has him on track to reach that goal.
"This summer I really wanted to focus on building my arm strength so I could be ready for the fall when I go back school and hopefully be competing for a starting rotation spot," he said. "That's my focus right now. Working on my off speed pitches and building arm strength."
The MCL features dozens of NCAA Division I players as well as players from other levels of the NCAA and also the NAIA. While competitive, collegiate summer leagues like the Cape Cod League or the Northwoods League are a bit more notable. Yet both can see themselves returning for another go-round in the league next summer.
"I'll probably try to see if I can go to a different league next year, but I'm having fun here so I'd definitely say it's an option for next year," Dressler said.
"We'll see what happens," Bokich said, "but honestly I would love to do it again next year."