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High school baseball: Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South, area teams ready to play ball

Area baseball teams looking for success

The first pitches of the high school baseball season have been thrown, and teams already are jockeying for position in conference races and postseason seeding. Here’s the outlook for the rest of the season for Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South and other area teams.

Benet Redwings

Coach: Scott Lawler

2016 record: 14-20

Top players


Tyler Bautista sr. 2B

CJ Birck sr. 1B/P

Marty Dosen sr. OF

Mike Dunn sr. 3B/P

Erik Jones sr. OF

Mark Moran sr. P

Outlook: Despite some rough going in the regular season, the Redwings found a way to win a Class 3A regional title last year. They return some key pieces that could lead to more success this season.

Dunn returns to lead the pitching staff, and Birck and Moran also are back. Senior newcomer Nick Imoff and classmate Steven Arrowsmith add pitching depth. Bautista, Dosen and Jones will be key pieces to the lineup. 

Downers Grove North Trojans

Coach: Chad Isaacson

2016 record: 17-19

Top players


David Giuliano sr. OF

Trey Romay sr. 2B

Tyler Rosen sr. SS/P

Nick Taviani sr. OF/P

Nolan Young sr. 3B

Outlook: There is a bit of a new look for the Trojans, who lost players to graduation and both James Krick and Alan Janowiak to injury for the season. Yet North once again could find itself in the hunt for a West Suburban Silver title and a regional championship.

Rosen and Taviani both have pitching experience, and juniors Nick Bacarella, Eric Browning, Jeremy DelValle, TJ Drohan, Brian Kosek, Adam Rodenbostel and Ben Rodenbostel will add mound depth. Giuliano, Romay, Young and senior outfielder Sam Condon will anchor the lineup.

The early results have been favorable, including wins against Benet, Wheaton North, and Wheaton Warrenville South as part of a 6-1 start.

Downers Grove South Mustangs

Coach: Darren Orel

2016 record: 24-10

Top players


Cam Crowley jr. P/OF

Mike Greco sr. 1B/P

Mike Hall jr. IF

Brett Riegler jr. C

Nick Stacey jr. OF/P

Mike Wagner sr. OF/P

Outlook: There are only four seniors on the roster (Greco, Wagner, Jeremy Canfield and Will Glocker), but the Mustangs should battle for a West Suburban Gold championship and a regional title.

Crowley, Hall, Riegler and Stacey all played regularly as sophomores and bolster a lineup that lost a few big bats to graduation. Stacey was the 2016 leadoff hitter, so he has experience setting the table.

Crowley figures to be the top pitcher after winning five games a year ago. He hit .421 last season. Hall and Riegler also are solid with the bat.

Greco, who dealt with a hip injury last year, Canfield, Glocker, Stacey and Wagner will bolster a pitching staff that also will include sophomores Andrew Alfini, Kyle Heavey, Keegan Garland, Michael Hoes, Jake Pileggi.

Hinsdale Central Red Devils

Coach: Jason Ziemer

2016 record: 23-14

Top players


John Harzich sr. OF/P

JP Medick sr. OF

Mitch Mulvihill sr. SS/P

Michael Murrary sr. 1B/P

Travis Pelton sr. 3B/P

Peter Pigatti sr. C

Andrew Zapka sr. OF/P

Outlook: Harzich, Medick, Mulvihill, Murray, Pigatti, Pelton and Zapka are the seniors, and all of them will play key roles for the Red Devils in the batting order and in the field. 

There is solid if unproven pitching depth with the seniors and juniors Matt Deiss, Murphy Juska and Peter Mercurio. Sophomore Kyle Wisch adds another quality arm.

Mulvihill, Pigatti and Zapka all hit over. 300 last spring.

Medick at the front of the lineup and Pelton in the top half of the order should make Central dangerous offensively.

Hinsdale South Hornets

Coach: Paul Hoel

2016 record: 29-7

Top players


John Collucci jr. P

Jaxon Herchenbach sr. P

Charlie Klemm sr. 2B/P

Dan Mazzei sr. OF

John Stoltz sr. C

Mike Stoltz sr. SS

Nick Wenkus sr. OF/P

Outlook: The Hornets lost several key parts of a prolific offense from a year ago, but that will be counteracted by solid mound depth and the typical jump in offensive production for returning players.

Colucci, Herchenbach and Klemm are all solid pitchers with experience. The trio combined for 13 wins and an average of 40 innings. Junior Matt Uba is another solid hurler.

Mazzei, John Stoltz and Mike Stoltz are all entering their third varsity seasons. Hoel said each year of experience can lead to an extra 100 points on the batting average, so that trio could be the main producers offensively after hitting in the mid-.300s last year.

Lisle Lions

Coach: Pete Meyer

2016 record: 16-15

Top players


Grant Haen sr. C

Zach Heidenry jr. IF/P

Max Sokolowski sr. 3B

Trevor Stitt sr. OF/P

David White sr. IF/P

Outlook: A strong group of returners plus an infusion of new talent will boost the Lions this spring. Stitt was a solid table setter in the lineup (.342 average, 16 steals), and Haen, Heidenry, Sokolowski and White were also productive. 

Heidenry, Stitt, junior Emmett Malavia and senior Nick Janitch, who returns to varsity after not playing last season, will be part of the pitching staff.

Westmont Sentinels

Coach: DJ Cocks

2016 record: 21-15

Top players


Caden Anderson so. 1B/P/OF

Joe Donovan sr. C/SS/OF

Dan Fredericks sr. IF/P

Alex Marotta so. OF/3B

Matt O’Leary so. SS/P/OF

Outlook: Michigan-bound Donovan figures to be the leader both offensively and in the field, but the Sentinels also have a healthy group of varsity returners.

Marotta batted cleanup for a large part of the 2016 season and drove in 30 runs while Anderson and Fredericks also were regulars in the lineup. Junior Michael Kokoszka will help the pitching staff as well as the offense after batting .358 last year.

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