Fox Valley Conference
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Dan Badgley (fifth season).
Last year’s record: 15-19 overall, 11-8 in FVC Fox (second place).
Key returning players: Parker Harold, 3B-P, Sr.; Dan Leverenz, 1B, Sr.; Connor Skrypek, 2B, sr.; Colin Telmanik, C, Sr.; Jacob Roley, P, Sr.; Matt Tegtmeier, OF, Jr.; Jake Vanscoyoc, OF, Sr.; Nathan Klyczek, SS, Sr.
Top new players: Tanner Larkins, IF-P, Jr.; Rob Aunan, OF-P, Jr.; Luke Francis, P, Sr.
Worth noting: Skrypek will move from shortstop to second base, but the Tigers should still be strong up the middle with Telmanik behind the plate. With some good pitching, the Tigers should be right in the division race again.
Coach: John Sarna (second season).
Last year’s record: 12-18-1 overall, 6-13 FVC Fox (fifth place).
Top returning players: Tyler Crater, C-P, Sr.; Michael Laramie, SS, Sr.; Brandon Wescher, 3rd-P, Sr.
Top new players: R.J. Consigny, 3B, Jr.; Michael Merchut, 2B, Jr.; Andrew Brown, P, Jr.
Worth noting: Crater is back for a fourth varsity season to lead the Whips as they try to move up in the standings.
Coach: Sam Lesniak (first season).
Last year’s record: 16-20 overall, 7-12 FVC Fox (fourth place).
Top returning players: Cam Adams, C-OF, Sr.; Collin Ridout, Jr., SS-P; Kevin Kordik, P-1B, Sr.; Brandon Krennrich, So., C-3B.
Top new players: Jake Schyvinck, P-3B, Jr.; Nic Desalvo, DH-1B, Jr.
Worth noting: The Skyhawks have most of their players returning from a team below .500 last season. Former coach Dann Giesey left to take the head coaching job at Mundelein Carmel. Krennrich and Adams are both tough behind the plate and Ridout is playing varsity for a third season.
Coach: John Oliveira (sixth season).
Last year’s record: 6-27, 1-18 FVC Fox (seventh place).
Top returning players: Jordan Turner, OF-P, Sr.; Andy Burhow, P-OF, Sr.; Alec Sahs, IF, Sr.; Jake Ellegood, IF-P, Sr.; Matt Swedberg, OF-P, Sr.; Alex Ferguson, IF-P, Jr.; Jordan Sumner, OF, Jr.; Eric Bell, C-IF, So.
Top new players: Austin Butts, C-P-IF, So.; John Kruse, IF-OF-P, So.
Worth noting: The Streaks return the nucleus of their team, along with their top three pitchers (Turner, Ferguson and Buhrow). Oliveira feels that experience and work ethic should benefit the team very well.
Coach: Ian Rago (second season).
Last year’s record: 6-28 overall, 2-16 FVC Fox (sixth place).
Top returning players: Josh Neely, SS-2B-P, Sr.; Shane Zieman, OF-P, Sr.; Tyler Roemisch, C, Sr.; Julian Zack, 2B-SS, Sr.; Carter Vepley, 3B-P, Sr.; Jake Schnulle, OF, Jr.
Top new players: Drake Creighton, 1B-P, Jr.; Jamie Huntley, 3B-P, Jr.; Josh Jandron, OF, So.
Worth noting: Six Thunder players who saw a lot of playing time are back this season. Rago feels his team should be solid defensively with Neely and Zack up the middle and Roemisch behind the plate.
Fox Valley Conference Valley Division
Coach: Don Sutherland (26th season).
Last year’s record: 22-15 overall, 13-6 FVC Valley (third place).
Top returning players: Andrew Brierton, P-C-1B, Sr.; Daniel Vilardo, P-OF, Sr.; Matt Ewert, C, Sr.; Jeremy Vasquez, SS, Sr.; Zach Marszal, OF-P, Sr.; Brandon McCumber, OF-P, Sr.; Dean Lee, P-1B, Sr.; Ryan Dundon, IF, Sr.; Patrick Serowka, P-IF, Sr.; Ryan Slaughter, OF-1B, Sr.
Top new players: Dean Christakes, P-IF-OF, Jr.; Andrew Splitt, P-1B, Jr.
Worth noting: The Trojans usually are a factor in the FVC Valley race and could be again with the offense from Vilardo, Marszal and Brierton will supply.
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Brian Bogda (sixth season).
Last year’s record: 28-10 overall, 14-3 FVC Valley (co-champion).
Top returning players: Max Meitzler, 1B-P, Sr.; Jake Bigos, OF, Sr.; Tyler Hall, IF-P, Sr.; Tom Gaede, 3B-OF, Sr.; Will Fogel, IF, Sr.; Tyler Parquette, P, Sr.; Josh Fruhauf, P, Sr.
Top new players: Casey Oliver, C, Jr.; Mike Danca, IF-P, Jr.; Garrett Bright, IF, So.; Ryan Wilkening, IF-P, So.
Worth noting: The Gators appear to have the pitching to make another run in the FVC Valley, led by Hall, Parquette and Fruhauf, all of whom will pitch in college. Bigos adds speed at the top and Meitzler was one of the best run producers in the area.
Coach: Coach: Jon Anderson (first season).
Last year’s record: 9-21-1, 5-14 FVC Valley (seventh place).
Top returning players: Dylan Kissack, C, Sr.; Kyle DeAtley, OF, Sr.; Luis Garcia, 3B, Sr.; Garrett Ryan, SS, Sr.; Nick Lodi, 1B-P, Sr.; Trent Muscat, 2B, Sr.; Ryan Suwanski, OF, Sr.; Zach Girard, OF, Jr.
Worth noting: Anderson, a former shortstop at Illinois and with the Boston Red Sox’s organization, likes what he has seen in the offseason workouts. “Our pitchers are throwing well and we’re ready to get out and see what we can do,” he said.
Coach: Andy Jakubowski (eighth season).
Last year’s record: 21-15 overall, 11-8 FVC Valley (tied for fourth).
Top returning players: Colin Lyman, OF-P, Sr.; Bryce Only, 3B-SS-P, Sr.; Mark Skonieczny, C-OF, Jr.; Tyler Albright, 2B-3B, Sr.; Kameron Sallee, 1B, Sr.; Matt Sullivan, SS, Jr.; Josh Perkins, P-3B, Sr.
Top new players: Eric Luecht, P-SS, Jr.; Tommy Kiriakopolus, P-1B, Jr.; Nick Constantino, P-3B, Jr.
Worth noting: Lyman and Only are fourth-year varsity players and headed to NCAA Division I schools Louisville and Nebraska. Skonieczny, a junior, committed to Illinois. Having those three in the top four spots in the lineup should make for a potent offense. … The Red Raiders lost their top five pitchers, so they will need less experienced players to thrive in those roles.
Coach: Jamie Murray (second season).
Last year’s record: 19-16 overall, 12-7 FVC Valley (fourth place).
Top returning players: Evan Blunk, P, Sr.; Nick Ledinsky, Sr., P; Connor Conzelman, OF, Sr.; Greg Sidor, C-OF, Sr.
Top new players: Grant Kale, IF-OF, Jr.; Ben Murray, 1B, Jr.; Reilly Peltier, P, Jr.; Tim Hubner, P-3B, Jr.
Worth noting: Jacobs has 15 returning seniors and the team made it to the Illinois High School Summer Tournament Final Four. Blunk and Ledinsky will be tough atop the rotation.
Coach: Brian Rockweiler (seventh season).
Last year’s record: 19-17 overall, 9-10 FVC Valley (fourth place).
Top returning players: Cody Freund, C-P-3B, Jr.; Andrew Reisinger, P, Sr.; Devon Gehrke, OF-P, Sr.; Nick Svoboda, 3B-P, Sr.; Cole Hoeppel-Tranter, 1B-C, Sr.; Payton Lykins, SS, Jr.; Adam Mattson, OF, Sr.
Top new players: Kyle Snedeker, IF-P, Sr.; Robert Nagel, P-Util., Jr.; Jordan Witbeck, 2B, Sr.
Worth noting: Rockweiler likes where his pitching is with Reisinger leading the way and new pitcher Kyle Snedeker looking making an impact. Freund is a third-year varsity player and also will pitch some for the Warriors.
Coach: Glen Pecoraro (13th season).
Last year’s record: 28-10 overall, 12-3 FVC Valley (co-champion).
Top returning players: Jordan Getzelman, OF, Sr.; Mike Reitcheck, P, Sr.; Matt Furst, P-1B, Sr.; Caleb Senyshyn, P, Sr.; Bryan Klendworth, RF, Sr.; Will Harvel, 3B-P; Mike Hallstrom, DH-C-1B, Sr.; DannySolis, LF, Sr.
Top new players: Ethan Routzahn, P, fr.; Danny Burris, P, Jr.; Austin Covers, P-LF-1B, Jr.; Steven Ladd, P-OF, Jr.; Dustin Thelander, C, So.; Danny Pecoraro, SS, Jr.; Jack Lasswell, 2B, Jr.
Worth noting: Getzelman, a two-time Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selection, will play at Missouri. Coach Pecoraro expects Reitcheck, who will pitch at Penn, along with Furst, Senyshyn and Burris to provide strong pitching. There also is Routzahn, a freshman who has gained national attention, who should make an impact. The offense should have speed and power.
Big Northern Conference
Coach: Donnie Nolen (second season).
Last year’s record: 11-17-1 overall, 4-6 division (tied for third place).
Top returning players: Travis Heck, OF, Sr.; Justin Nolen, SS, Jr.; Matt Piechocki, P, Jr.; Peyton Schneider, 3B-P, So.
Top new players: Tate Miller, 1B, Jr.; Matt Wheeler, C, Jr.; Chance Shelton, OF, Sr.
Worth noting: Nolen likes the leadership he has on a young team. Good defense and pitching will be crucial for the Hornets. Justin Nolen is one of the leaders with his third season of varsity baseball.
Coach: Josh Maas (second season).
Last year’s record: 15-17 overall, 4-6 Big Northern East Division (tied for third).
Top returning players: Matt Conroy, P-IF-OF, Sr.; Jeff Wilmot, SS-P, Sr.; Brian Streu, P-OF, Sr.; Justin Vogel, P-1B, Jr.
Top new players: Koty Kissack, P-IF, So.; Erik Kurczewski, C, Jr.; Ethan Walsweer, P-OF, So.
Worth noting: Wilmot (shortstop) and Conroy (center field) will help a lot with defense. Catcher Erik Kurczewski also will help the defense. The top two pitchers graduated, so the Indians will need some help there, but Maas thinks they can hit through their lineup.
Coach: Mike Giese (eighth season).
Last year’s record: 27-10 overall, 9-1 BNC East (division champion).
Top returning players: Ryne Blanton, P-SS, Sr.; Matt Malecki, C, Sr; Brian Wells, P-SS, Jr.; Mike Kaska, IF-P, Jr.
Top new players: Jake Tiso, OF, Jr.; Nathan Hansel, OF, Jr.
Worth noting: The Rockets lost a lot of talent to graudation, starting with Northwest Herald Player of the Year E.J. Trapino, who now is at Wright State. Blanton and Malecki lead the returning players and Giese thinks the pitching will be strong enough to make R-B competitive.
Coach: Benji Winkelman (second season).
Last year’s record: 19-17, 8-8 Surburban Christian Conference.
Top returning players: Mike Koscielniak, P-OF, Sr.; Trent Faunce, P-OF, Sr.; Tyler Hickey, SS, Sr.; Tony Milone, IF, Sr.; Edgar Ross, Util., Sr.
Top new players: Tanner Spoden, 1B, Jr.; Jared Bogner, C, Jr.; Corte Trebacz, C, Jr.
Worth noting: The Hurricanes lost their top two starting pitchers, Lincoln Herendeen and Ian Maxeiner (both at McHenry County College), to graduation. An unplanned loss, however, came with catcher Ryan Hickey, who is academically ineligible. That means Winkelman will turn to juniors Jared Bogner and Corte Trebacz behind the plate.
Northeastern Athletic Conference
Coach: Brian Engelbrecht (third season).
Last year’s record: 11-20.
Top returning players: Hunter Ogle, 2B-C, Sr.; Tim Talbert, CF, Sr.; Bryce Lalor, P, Sr.; Matt Winter, P-SS, So.; Cody Nelson, P-1B, So.; Alec O’Halleran, C-P-3B, So.;
Top new players: Andrew Tieman, P-IF, Jr.; John Judson, OF-IF, Fr.; James Lejuene, 2B-OF, Fr.
Worth noting: A-H started five freshmen last season and three of those players, Matt Winter, Cody Nelson and Alec O’Halleran, play travel baseball with the Woodstock Lightning. The Giants also get help from Andrew Tieman, a junior from Faith Lutheran in Crystal Lake, a school that co-ops with A-H for baseball.
– Joe Stevenson