Baseball: Mundelein's sizzling start continues
The Mundelein baseball machine continues to roll.
The Mustangs started the week 11-1 overall and were off to a 4-0 North Suburban start thanks in part to a sweep of Stevenson (6-2 and 2-1 wins). Mundelein also upended Grant 8-5 in a recent nonconference game.
In the second game against Stevenson, Tommy Stricklin's game-ending single scored Michael Farina.
Also of note in the 2-1 Stevenson win, Ryan Geraghty went the distance, allowing 1 hit and 1 earned run while striking out 12 and walking one.
Daniel Pacella had a recent four-game stretch where he hit .556 (5-for-9) with 3 doubles, 2 homers, 7 RBI and 5 walks (.733 on-base percentage). Pacella went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles, a homer and 5 RBI. Geraghty was 2-0 in his last 4 appearances, pitching 12 innings in that span and giving up only 3 hits, 1 earned run, while striking out 23 against 1 free pass.
"The team is playing well," Mundelein coach Randy Lerner said. "There's a great chemistry in the clubhouse. We are getting great pitching from our starters and bullpen guys. Defense and offense are continuing to improve."
Some Mundelein history was made recently with Drew Wellington breaking the school's career triples record. He hit his 10th career triple in early April against Grayslake Central.
The Blue Devils also were 4-0 in NSC play to start the week (11-2). Warren scored recent conference wins over Lake Zurich (12-2 and 4-3) and lost a nonconference game to McHenry (12-2). Adam Behrens had 14 strikeouts on the hill against Lake Zurich, while Kendal Lyons fanned 12 against the Bears in his start.
"Our Nos. 1 and 2 have been throwing great for us," Warren coach Clint Smothers said.
Grayslake Central update:
The Northern Lake County Conference leaders were 5-0 in league play to start the week and 10-2 overall. Recent wins for coach Troy Whalen's crew came against Crystal Lake South (2-0), Grant (3-2 and 11-2) and Vernon Hills (7-3).
Colin Kornit and Chris Rogers combined for a 3-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts against Crystal Lake South. To start the week, Kornit had 16 strikeouts in 15 innings to go with a 1.07 ERA. Rogers was 3-1 with 17 strikeouts in 13 innings.
In the 3-2 league win over Grant, Lake Land commit Brendan Whalen struck out nine over 5 innings. He was 3-0 with 17 strikeouts in 14 innings with an ERA of 2.20 to start the week. In the other Grant game, Will Schufreider struck out nine in 4 innings to pick up his third win. The junior has a sub-1 ERA with a team-high 22 strikeouts in 14 innings.
Two others notables for the Rams have been junior outfielder Jack Gerbasi, who was hitting a team-high .444 out of the leadoff spot, and senior catcher Charlie Marisca. Gerbasi also leads the team in runs scored (12) and steals (10) and also has 3 triples. Marisca, a Parkland commit, was hitting .417 with a team-best 6 doubles to go with 15 RBI at week's beginning.
Through 12 games, the Rams were averaging just under 10 runs a game. "I don't expect that to continue, but the offensive output has been an early season surprise," Whalen said. "On the defensive side, our Top 4 returning pitchers (Whalen, Rogers, Schufreider and Kornit) are giving us a chance every game they take the bump. Will has really elevated his game and is throwing the ball like a No. 1 starter. Brendan is a senior and the other three arms are juniors, with all of them seeing varsity experience last year as sophomores."
Whalen pointed out he can also turn to seniors Zach Chamernik and Zack Hindman, and juniors Luke Mudd, Garrett Guenther, Max Motykie, Max Woll, Zack Antonucci and Nolan Mussay for innings on the mound. Mussay already has 2 saves. "With the rough weather, games are stacking up for everyone," Whalen pointed out. "Those teams with pitching depth will benefit."
The Wildcats started the week a game behind Mundelein and Warren in the NSC at 3-1 (12-5 overall). Libertyville scored a quality nonconference win over Jacobs where Ryan Thrawl cracked a first-inning grand slam.
Dylan Holmes was hitting .435 for the Wildcats with 6 doubles, 2 homers and a triple to go with 15 RBI at week's start, while Connor Walters was 1-0 with an 0.45 ERA. He had 24 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings of work.
"I really like our pitching depth and strong defense," Wildcats coach Matt Thompson said. "Our bats are coming alive. If we can hit consistently and manufacture runs we will be a dangerous team."
Lake Zurich update:
The Bears, like all teams have been stung by the weather in the early going. "What a spring," coach Scott DeCaprio said. "We couldn't take our spring trip due to COVID and we have had 11 rainouts already, so we're still trying to get a full grasp of the team."
Lake Zurich was 2-6 in its first eight games (3 one-run losses) and 1-3 in NSC action. The Bears beat Libertyville 1-0 in 9 innings where junior Lucas Foley went 7 2/3 innings on the hill, giving up no runs, 2 infield hits and struck out 13, while walking only one. "Lucas has been lights out," DeCaprio said. Foley had 30 strikeouts against 5 walks in three games. Sophomore shortstop Jonathan Fleaka was batting .318, slugging .500 and struck a home run. "Jonathan has been smooth defensively at short, too," said DeCaprio, who noted the team has had only one outside practice thus far. "I like how some of our younger guys have stepped up and we've played well defensively in our close games."
The Bulldogs were 5-9 overall to stat the week and 1-3 in Northern Lake County play with recent league games against Grayslake Central (11-3 and 3-2 losses) and that nonconference loss to Mundelein.
"We haven't played consistent baseball yet this year, however we feel like we are very close to breaking out and turning a corner on the field," Grant coach Dave Behm said.
Of note for the Patriots was the combined no-hitter Daniel Cabrales and Joe Richardson threw against Glenbrook South. Brett Gaynor also struck out 11 in a nonconference game against Dundee-Crown. Stevenson was 10-4 overall and 2-2 in NSC play to start the week.
At the plate, Owen Housinger was hitting .459 to start the week, slugging .500 with an on-base percentage of .757 with 22 RBI. "Owen is on fire at the plate," Stevenson coach Nick Skala said.
Cabrales was 3-1 on the mound with 24 strikeouts in 20 innings.
"We are in the heart of our conference season," Skala said. "We went toe to toe with Mundelein for 14 innings. Our team is starting to play with confidence in tight ballgames due to our tough schedule. The leadership of our team is outstanding."
Round Lake update:
The Panthers dropped a recent 4-2 nonconference game to Wheeling. Through six games, senior catcher Jacob Rolon is hitting .375 with 3 doubles. "We are young and trying to get better," Round Lake coach Ed Adamson said. "We are starting at least six freshmen or sophomores each game. I like that we are learning from our mistakes and getting better."
The Sequoits split a recent nonconference doubleheader with Burlington Central, a fellow Class 3A school.
University of Indiana recruit TJ Schuyler was hitting .471 to start the week, "and is doing a great job behind the plate," Antioch coach Chris Malec noted.
Another hot hand has been Tommy Van Sickle, who was hitting .600 during a recent four-game span.
"We are struggling to field the ball, but offensively we are clicking," Malec said. "We have 10 players hitting over .300 on the season."