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Lemont baseball braces for changes

Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 11:51 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Larry W. Kane for Shaw Media)
Lemont's Mike Papierski takes a swing in a playoff game during the spring baseball season. Papierski is one of several key players the Indians will need to replace heading into next season.

LEMONT – Going from the Class 3A baseball state title game to a summer league matchup a week later was a bit of a letdown for Lemont's baseball team.

But in general, head coach Brian Storako was pleased with what he saw this summer from a group that will be much less experienced than the one that captured the program's first state championship in early June.

"The bar has been set and we have to work towards that," Storako said. "It won't be given to us. We have to work hard to live up to expectations.

"Obviously we don't have the same type of team, but defensively we might improve and our team speed is definitely improved."

Having lost 14 seniors to graduation, including most of the everyday lineup and the top two members of the pitching staff, Lemont posted a final summer record of 5-7 after losing to Plainfield North in the Lockport regional.

"Summer ball is always hard, especially with some of the guys playing close to 60 games with their traveling teams," Storako said. "But we got a good look at a bunch of kids who didn't get as much playing time during the [spring]."

One thing that is clear is despite the loss of Jake Latz and Charlie Wright, the Indians should have another strong pitching staff heading into 2015. Ryan Sublette and Garrett Acton each won five games in the spring while Austin Tittle and Nate Broskovetz recorded ERAs of 0.90 and 1.29, respectively.

"I think pitching will be a strong point again," the coach said. "Obviously no one can fill Jake and Charlie's shoes, but we definitely have guys who are capable of eating innings up and throwing the ball well for us."

The biggest question lies on the offensive side as a host of new faces will be asked to contribute. Nick Wisz batted .300 with 31 RBIs as a sophomore while Jamie Glista and Mike Gralla also are slated to return next spring, but overall the Indians will look different.

"We will be young," Storako said. "We are losing a lot of power. We will have to play small ball more and move runners around. It will be interesting. It will be a different brand of ball, but you have to adapt to what you have."

With so many spots up for grabs, the offseason is an important one for the Indians. A year ago, most of the starting positions were already set.

"We told the guys that if you put the gloves and bats down for seven months, it will be evident who worked and who didn't come February and March," Storako said. "It will be fun to watch these guys progress and to see what they can get done.

"We will put a good product out there [next spring], it will just be a different dynamic."

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