GLEN ELLYN – With eight games scheduled for one week earlier this summer, Glenbard South baseball coach Mike Riley joked that he was almost forced to take the mound for the Raiders.
That's the way it often goes during summer baseball, with the players' other commitments (football, traveling baseball) and rainy weather often being added to the mix.
"Obviously we are missing kids at times," Riley said. "We don't look at our record much [in the summer] with kids coming and going."
Glenbard South did win nine games over the past six weeks and notched nice victories against Hinsdale South and Lyons Township. More importantly, the Raiders will be bringing back an experienced team in 2015.
"We have a lot of kids coming back next year," the coach said, "and we have a lot of pitching coming back. We should be pretty good."
The Raiders bring back seven of nine starters in the field in Joey Atkinson, Tim Marks, Dylan Brambora, Andrew Wrona, Brian Ashe, Kyle Carli and Alex McGimpsey. Michael Ashe was brought up the varsity during the spring playoffs and should be a major contributor next season. Fellow junior Jake Kapp, who didn't play baseball in the spring, also had a strong summer on the diamond.
"We had three sophomores and four juniors starting in the spring," Riley said. "I thought we were swinging the bats much better in the summer than we did in the spring."
On the mound, Glenbard South lost staff ace Nick Yangas but should return four pitchers with experience in seniors Jacob Straza, Dominic Fazzari, Brambora and McGimpsey. Junior Fabian Garcia opened some eyes as well this summer.
"Our pitchers will be much more experienced," Riley said. "All started during their junior years and they are coming back as seniors. So we should have very solid pitching."
Next year, the Raiders will see a change in their league schedule as seven new schools are entering the Metro Suburban Conference. With the MSC being split into two divisions, Glenbard South plays each team in its division twice and every other squad once with all contests counting toward their conference record.