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Baseball: Previewing IC Catholic Prep, Montini, Timothy Christian, Willowbrook and York

Willowbrook's Ryan Mintz delivers a pitches June 3 in a Class 4A sectional championship game against South Elgin. The sophomore pitched well but the Warriors fell 4-1 to end the season.
Willowbrook's Ryan Mintz delivers a pitches June 3 in a Class 4A sectional championship game against South Elgin. The sophomore pitched well but the Warriors fell 4-1 to end the season.

The high school baseball season has begun as teams start their quest toward the state finals at the Joliet Slammers Stadium in Joliet and Dozer Park in Peoria. Here is a preview of area teams.

IC Catholic Prep Knights

Coach: Frank DeAngelis

2017 record: 14-19

Top players


CJ West sr. P/3B

Griffen Eichhorn sr. OF/SS

Andrew Falduto sr. P/OF

CJ Slowsinski sr. P/SS

Michael Hoffman sr. C

Jack Enright sr. P/RF

Ryan Malek jr. P/2B

Jake Lytton jr. P

Thomas Hilgart jr. P

Michael Carpanzano jr. P

Tommy Ryan so. 3B/1B

Dave Sykora fr. OF

Outlook: West in the fall was the quarterback for ICCP’s state championship football team. He’ll play a big role on the baseball diamond, too. The third-year starter and St. Norbert’s football recruit (undecided on baseball), who hit .294 and had a 1.82 ERA in 42.1 innings last spring, is one of several Knights who could play multiple positions. ICCP did graduate its top two pitchers from a regional champion.

The Knights’ struggles the past two seasons have been scoring runs with runners in scoring position. This group looks to be one that can put the ball in play and field their positions.

“Our outlook should be a team that will take care of the ball and get solid starting pitching,” DeAngelis said.

Montini Broncos

Coach: Rich Janor

2017 record: 19-16

Top players


Jake Karczewski sr. SS/P

Ryan Nelson jr. 2B

Ben Steiner sr. P/U

Bobby Meifert so. P

Michael Sclafani so. P

Outlook: Third-year starters Karczewski, Nelson and Steiner will anchor the defending Chicago Catholic League White champs, who also won a Class 3A regional title. Karczewski, committed to play collegiately at Navy, hit a team-best .379 for the Broncos last spring. Nelson, who hit leadoff, batted .323. Steiner is Montini’s No. 1 pitcher, followed by Meifert and Sclafani.

It’s a young team – four sophomores and a freshman will either start or contribute. The Broncos won their first three games, beating highly-ranked St. Rita 5-4.

“We expect the young players to rise up and be very competitive again this year in the Chicago Catholic League White Division and the playoffs,” Janor said.

Timothy Christian Trojans

Coach: James Snoeyink

2017 record: 19-11

Top players


Jimmy Allen sr. SS/P

Nick Huisman sr. P/1B

Connor Gwaltney sr. C

Jake Loerop sr. P/1B

Brady Klooser sr. OF

Ty Merrick sr. OF

John Tazelaar sr. OF

Thomas Becvar jr. OF/P

Trent Marrera jr. IF

Garrett Pullen jr. P/OF

Harrison Stanton so. IF/C

Outlook: The Trojans are coming off the best season in program history, advancing to a Class 2A supersectional. Snoeyink is optimistic they can build on that, and it starts with Allen. The Western Michigan recruit, an All-State pick last year, hit .459 and led Timothy Christian in runs, RBIs (35), doubles, triples and stolen bases. He also is an excellent glove at shortstop and struck out 50 while posting a 1.66 ERA. Huisman, committed to Lewis, went 5-2 with a 2.10 ERA. Gwaltney drove in 14 runs and is an excellent defensive catcher. Loerop went 5-1 with a 0.86 ERA. There are holes to fill in the lineup.

“We have some very good players returning and some good young players to fill in for the players we lost to graduation,” Snoeyink said. “We have good pitching depth and defense and we have the potential to be a decent hitting team. We are looking forward to getting started.”

Willowbrook Warriors

Coach: Vic Wisner

2017 record: 26-9

Top players


Trevor Jaloszynski jr. RF

Jack Hines jr. SS/P

Jack Nilles jr. P

Ryan Mintz jr. P/SS

Dan Gusel sr. C

Marshall McDonnell jr. C

Mason Kamp sr. 1B

Scott Tumilty jr. CF

Sam Tumilty so. LF

John Taylor sr. OF

Dax Meyer so. P/3B

Joey Guthrie jr. P/SS

Outlook: The Warriors set a school record for wins last season, and started five sophomores in their regional championship win en route to the sectional final. With six starters back, there is reason to aim high. Pitching will be a strength. Willowbrook returns players who accounted for 18 wins. Nilles, who went 8-1 with a 1.86 ERA, and Mintz, who went 6-2 with a 2.00 ERA, anchor that group with Meyer, a sophomore. Hines hit .386 with 22 RBIs last year, Mason Kamp, committed to Waubonsee, hit .356 and third-year varsity player Jaloszynski hit .295. The Warriors do have a few holes to fill in the lineup; four graduated seniors are now playing collegiately.

“We will be young but experienced because of how much time they got last year,” Wisner said. “We should be in the mix for the WSC Gold championship and we believe very competitive come playoff time.”

York Dukes

Coach: Dave Kalal

2017 record: 23-11

Top players


Joey Jaeger sr. DH/1B

Ryan Ross jr. SS

Andrew Deardurff sr. OF

Michael Pastuovic sr. 1B

Ian Steinorth jr. 2B

Joe Chiapetta sr. 3B/P

Charles Pakenas sr. P

John Hadawi sr. P

Outlook: The Dukes should be able to hit, with 16 players back from a team that collectively hit .318 last year. Jaeger and Ross combined for 35 RBIs, while Deardurff hit .318 with 26 RBIs and 29 runs scored. Pastuovic, who had 20 RBIs, figures to be in the middle of the lineup.

Pakenas and Hadawi anchor the pitching staff. They had ERAs of 2.63 and 2.95 ERA last season.

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