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Sports

Baseball: Previewing Glenbard East, Lemont, Montini, Timothy Christian, Willowbrook and York

Willowbrook's Jack Nilles pitches against Wheaton North during the Class 4A Willowbrook Regional championship on May 26.
Willowbrook's Jack Nilles pitches against Wheaton North during the Class 4A Willowbrook Regional championship on May 26.

The prep baseball season has begun, as teams begin their quest toward the state finals at the Joliet Slammers Stadium in Joliet. Here is a preview of area teams:

GLENBARD EAST RAMS

Coach: Joel Pelland

2018 record: 24-8

TOP PLAYERS

NAME YEAR POS

Bret Bushka Sr. C

Jeremy Johnson Sr. IF

Jacob Bailey Sr. P/IF

Jake Huisman Sr. P/IF

Mitchell Glennon Sr. P/OF

Jimmy Cotterill Sr. OF

Outlook: A four-year starter, Bret Bushka, a catcher and pitcher, is back for his final season. He batted .429 with 27 RBIs and a 1.140 OPS last year, while steadying the pitching staff. 

“We have a lot of returning players for us this year from our regional championship team,” Pelland said. “This team has been preparing since the end of season last year to make another push for another regional championship. They got a taste of it last year and they are hungry for more.”

LEMONT INDIANS

Coach: Brian Storako

2018 record: 18-15

TOP PLAYERS

NAME YEAR POS

Bobby Wisz Sr. SS

Conrad Tauer Sr. P

James Tauer Sr. OF

Anthony Fornero Jr. 3B/C

Nick Muscolino Jr. 3B/OF

Blaine Luevano Jr. P

Outlook: Despite pitching depth a concern, the Indians have a pretty solid group of returnees meshed with youngsters. Senior shortstop Bobby Wisz and senior pitcher Conrad Taurer and senior outfielder James Tauer have committed to Triton College. Wisz batted .495 with four homers and 38 RBIs. Conrad Tauer, a left-hander, can throw three pitches for strikes and James Tauer batted .318 with 16 RBIs after being moved from second base to the outfield last year. 

“If we can limit the errors, we will be in a very good position moving forward,” Brian Storako said. “We will have guys that can drive the ball to all fields. We will look to put pressure on teams on the bases. We have put an emphasis on our team defense, so they should support a pitching staff that los a lot of innings from the 2018 team.”

MONTINI BRONCOS

Coach: Rich Janor

2018 record: 19-16

TOP PLAYERS

NAME YEAR POS

Michael Koszewski Jr. CF

Ryan Nelson Sr. SS

Ben Lah Sr. 3B

Antoine Harris Soph. OF

Nick Wind Jr. OF

Michael Sclafani Jr. 1B

Outlook: The Broncos have won a Class 3A regional title in each of the last five seasons and claimed their division title in the Chicago Catholic League the past two seasons. High expectations, for Montini, are certainly an expectation in the program, according to Rich Janor.

Ryan Nelson, a senior shortstop, is one of the top returnees after committing to Eastern Kentucky. The outfield is solid with Michael Koszewski and sophomore Antoine Harris.

“The theme for this season is good to great and this may be the team to get the Montini baseball program to the next level,” Janor said. “The pitching rotation is led by four talented juniors. Michael Sclafani is the ace, while Ralph Ortiz, Bobby Meifert and lefty Michael Koszweski right behind him and will be ready in big games.”

TIMOTHY CHRISTIAN TROJANS

Coach: Brian Whartnaby

2018 record: 17-14

TOP PLAYERS

NAME YEAR POS

Trent Marrera Sr. P/CF/IF

Ethan Roemmich Jr. P/OF

Thomas Becvar Sr. P/OF

Ben Jones Soph. SS

Outlook: The Trojans enter a new era without star player Jimmy Allen. The Western Michigan freshman did it all in the program for four years. The Trojans have been bothered by some early injuries, but their top of the lineup is solid, according to coach Brian Whartnaby.

“I would say our top of the order bats will set the tone for the season,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing who will step up this season on the mound and at the plate. Because of some key injuries, we’ll have guys playing multiple positions and some that are new to them.”

WILLOWBROOK WARRIORS

Coach: Vic Wisner

2018 record: 20-14

TOP PLAYERS

NAME YEAR POS

Dax Meyer. Jr. P

Sam Tumilty Jr. LF

Scott Tumilty Sr. CF

Trevor Jaloszynski Sr. P/RF

Jack Hines Sr. SS

Ryan Mintz Sr. P/2B

Jack Nilles Sr. P/1B

Marshall McDonnell Sr. C

Outlook: The Warriors have the luxury of the return of standout pitcher Dax Meyer, who compiled a 11-0 record last year. The Warriors are loaded with experience all over the infield and outfield, with shortstop Jack Hines, second baseman Ryan Mintz, first baseman and pitcher Jack Nilles, catcher Marshall McDonnell and outfielder/pitcher Trevor Jaloszynski. All five players have at least three years varsity starting experience.

“We will be a senior dominated team,” coach Vic Wisner said. “This group has won back-to-back regionals for the first time in our school history. Our big strength will be pitching, as we return everyone. This staff has the ability to be as good as anyone in the state…At the plate, we return some real power. We should be able to compete with anyone.”

YORK DUKES

Coach: Dave Kalal

2018 record: 21-12

TOP PLAYERS

NAME YEAR POS

Ryan Ross Sr. SS/OF

Ian Steinroth Sr. IF

Dan Brown Sr. IF

Joe Orrico Sr. C

Bo Thomas Sr. DH/C

Joe Goehl Sr. OF

Kellen Gilmartin Sr. P

John Milling Sr. P

Clayton Letourneau Sr. IF/OF

Timothy Bowbin Sr. P/IF

Outlook: The Dukes have won 20-plus games for two straight seasons and three of the last five, so expectations remain high, especially due to a senior-loaded team, to be a factor in the West Suburban Silver this year.

“The lineup is senior dominated this year,” Dave Kalal said. “We hope to improve on the 75 stolen bases as a team from last year and make a run in the playoffs in May.”

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