Baseball

High school baseball insider: Jacobs' Mike Addante is Athlete of the Week; power rankings and more

Mike Addante
Mike Addante

Athlete of the Week

Mike Addante

Jacobs, sr., CF

Addante was 5 for 14 in his past three games with four extra-base hits, three of which were home runs, as the Golden Eagles beat Hampshire twice and Crystal Lake Central once.

Addante’s game Saturday was one for the ages. In his first two trips to the plate against Hampshire, he hit the first pitch out of the park. His second home run was a grand slam. Later, he added a bases-loaded triple and finished with eight RBIs in the Eagles’ 19-6 victory.

Addante also was 2 for 4 with a homer in a 5-0 win over Crystal Lake Central on Wednesday. In between, Addante struggled with three strikeouts in a 5-4, nine-inning win against Hampshire, but he bounced back in a big way two days later.

“It’s a long season, there’s some adversity,” Jacobs coach Jamie Murray said. “You’re going to have peaks and valleys. You fail 50, 60, 70 percent of the time (at hitting). That’s part of the game.”

Murray was mightily impressed with Addante’s home run against Central.

“He hit it down the line, wind’s blowing in 20 mph and the right fielder just stood there (looking at it),” Murray said. “Through the wind. It was like Roy Hobbs. He hit it right through the wind.”

Addante, a speedy left-handed hitter, signed with Nebraska in November.

Northwest Herald Power Rankings

1. McHenry (11-3): The Warriors continue to get great pitching, as they have given up six runs in their past four FVC games. Mike Lasiewicz pitched a gem in a 5-2 victory over Crystal Lake South on Tuesday, which was the Gators’ first loss.

2. Crystal Lake South (14-1): The Gators finally lost, falling to McHenry, 5-2, on Tuesday. But they have been playing well in every phase of the game.

3. Cary-Grove (12-3): The Trojans have won four in a row after two losses against McHenry. With Matt McCumber and Quinn Priester at the top of the rotation, C-G likely will be in the FVC race until the end.

4. Jacobs (12-2): The Golden Eagles had a pair of walk-off wins against District 300 rival Hampshire this week, 5-4 in nine innings on Thursday and 8-7 in eight innings on Monday.

5. Huntley (11-3): The Red Raiders have won five in a row and allowed 11 runs in those games. Cam Reed, Nick Laxner, Adam Smylie and Kyle Morgan comprise a strong rotation.

Noteworthy

Great start: Woodstock North tied its school record for victories in a season with a 2-1 win against crosstown rival Woodstock in their Kishwaukee River Conference game Monday. That put the Thunder at 12-3 overall and 7-0 in the KRC.

“It’s a good feeling. We won 12 last year. We’ve come together,” senior pitcher Dain Glaves said. “We’re like a family here; we love playing together. We always have fun. It’s just competing day in and day out.”

Thunder coach John Oslovich deflects all the credit to the players.

“We’re playing with a lot of confidence. That’s huge,” Oslovich said. “Our guys are coming out to the field expecting to win, expecting to compete. Last year, we saw a little bit of success, and our guys kind of carried it over. It’s a great group of kids; it’s their team.”

Narrowing down: Cary-Grove catcher Tyler Pennington has said all along that he wanted to play college football and wants to do so at the highest possible level. Pennington, the Northwest Herald Male Athlete of the Year in 2016, likely will be a preferred walk-on at some school. Illinois State or Arkansas, which recently entered the picture, are at the top of his list.

“I’m still waiting to hear back from a few schools,” Pennington said. “It would be a walk-on anywhere I went (for football). I kind of reopened baseball just to kind of get some interest.”

C-G football assistant coach Matt Ruhland was a teammate at Iowa with Arkansas coach Brett Bielema, which helped open that possibility.

“I sent [Bielema] my stuff kind of for fun, honestly,” Pennington said. “Things kind of picked up. I’m waiting to hear back on what they said is looking good.”

Pennington (5-foot-10, 220 pounds) is C-G’s career rushing leader but likely would be a linebacker in college.

Praising a foe: Hampshire coach John Sarna was impressed with Prairie Ridge pitcher Ryan Schmit on April 11 when he threw 4 1/3 innings of perfect ball at the Whip-Purs. Sarna was even more impressed with Wolves pitching coach Andy Deain taking Schmit out at that point.

Schmit had nine strikeouts and had thrown 58 pitches.

“He could have thrown a perfect game,” Sarna said. “Not many coaches would have done it, but Andy did. I have a ton of respect for what he did.”

As good as advertised: Cary-Grove sophomore Quinn Priester drew attention last summer when he received a scholarship offer from Northwestern. The 6-foot-3 right-hander has a lot more offers and has shown why with his pitching this spring.

Priester’s latest outing was his longest, throwing a 103-pitch complete game to beat Crystal Lake Central, 6-2, while striking out nine and allowing no earned runs.

Priester has offers from Arizona State, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Notre Dame, along with Northwestern.

Olsen to Mount Mercy: Crystal Lake South shortstop Kory Olsen, a Northwest Herald All-Area second-team selection last season, will play at NAIA Mount Mercy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa next year.

Olsen is one of the area’s top fielding shortstops and has hit in the middle of South’s stout lineup this season. Olsen improved his status with the coaches when he worked out there this winter.

“They didn’t think I’d play right away,” Olsen said. “I went over and worked out. I didn’t play basketball this season, so I’d gotten a little bit better. He saw progress from the video and said he thinks I could get time right away.”

What to Watch

Burlington Central vs. Woodstock North

Two of the best KRC teams will see each other Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s still early, but these games could prove pivotal in the conference standings.

Cary-Grove vs. Huntley

The two teams that are expected to contend in the FVC and meet for their three-game series Tuesday through Thursday.

Crystal Lake South vs. Jacobs

Both teams had only one FVC loss entering Wednesday, so this should be another crucial series in the conference race Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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