Baseball

High school baseball insider: Hampshire's Ben Corcelles is Athlete of the Week

Ben Corcelles
Ben Corcelles

Ben Corcelles

Hampshire, sr., 2B

Corcelles experienced the thrill of his career with a walk-off grand slam in Thursday’s 12-8 victory over Dundee-Crown in their Fox Valley Conference game.

Corcelles was 3 for 4 with five RBIs in the game. He had a double and a single along with his game-winning homer.

The victory lifted the Whip-Purs to 7-2 at that point, 1-0 in the FVC.

“He came up clutch,” Whips coach Frank Simoncelli said. “It was a great moment for him and the team.”

Northwest Herald Power Rankings

(Records through Monday)

1. Huntley (8-1): The Red Raiders did not get a game in last week because of the inclement weather. They have won six in a row since their lone loss, 4-2, to St. Viator.

2. McHenry (8-2): The Warriors beat Crystal Lake South, 9-4, in their only game last week. They have won four in a row.

3. Cary-Grove (6-1-1): The Trojans defeated Prairie Ridge, 4-3, in eight innings on Thursday. It was their only game of the week.

4. Prairie Ridge (6-5): The Wolves were the only team in the area to play twice last week. They lost to C-G in eight innings, then beat Hampshire, 10-0.

5. Crystal Lake Central (6-3): The Tigers did not play last week because of the weather. Their last game was a 1-0 loss to Huntley.

Noteworthy

Tough news: Crystal Lake Central did not receive the news it hoped for recently regarding ace senior pitcher James Cormier.

After an MRI on his left (throwing) wrist, Cormier’s orthopedic doctor said he is likely out for the season with a ligament injury.

Cormier was injured while sliding feet-first into a base a few weeks ago. His thumb hit the ground as he slid, causing the injury. Cormier will pitch at NAIA St. Ambrose in Davenport, Iowa, next year.

“I feel really bad for him,” Tigers coach Tom Mueller said. “They think the ligament is torn. They didn’t see him playing the rest of the season. I’m sad for him. He’s dedicated, a hard worker and as coachable as can be. It broke my heart.”

Cormier started the season with a five-inning outing against Woodstock in which he struck out 11, did not allow a hit and walked one.

“You can’t fill those shoes,” Mueller said. “He felt like he was letting the team down, and I told him that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Weather issues: Huntley coach Andy Jakubowski said the bad weather affected his disposition last week.

“There were a couple days when I was in a bad mood,” Jakubowski said. “You go back to things you do early in the season and get game situations as much as possible. Ultimately, the game speed is something we’re going to have to catch back up to.”

With so many games postponed, teams will find their schedules more crammed later in the season, which can tax their pitchers.

“It puts a strain on a pitching staff,” McHenry coach Brian Rockweiler said. “It makes you develop depth amongst your pitchers. With the pitch count (rules from the IHSA) coming in last year, everybody’s made some guys throw who haven’t thrown in the past.”

Finding make-up dates become headaches for teams, but Rockweiler said it’s something they deal with most seasons.

Jakubowski goes by the theory of worrying only about today.

“Play for today, worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes,” Jakubowski said. “You set up your rotation, but it comes down to that specific day. We have 14 pitchers. We’re going to need those 10 through 14 guys definitely later on in the week.”

New surface in Joliet: Installing of the new artificial surface at Joliet Route 66 Stadium, home of the Joliet Slammers and the IHSA's Class 3A and 4A baseball state tournaments, was delayed about a month by cold and wet weather. But crews began rolling out the new artificial turf Tuesday.

The Slammers open their season May 15. The state tournaments will be held June 8 and 9.

"It feels very good, obviously," Joliet Public Works Director James Trizna told the Joliet Herald-News. "Everybody wants to get it done."

Slammers owner Nick Semaca told the Herald-News last week he thought the gravel surface laid down for the new turf was not draining properly. Joliet city administrators felt the problem was more related to the weather than poor drainage.

The Slammers say with good weather, the field can be done in two weeks. The turf must be laid, stripes must be painted and then the infill mixture put in. Slammers players will report on April 30, at which point the team is confident it will have the new field ready.

What to Watch

Crystal Lake Central vs. Cary-Grove: The teams play their FVC series on Thursday, Saturday and Monday, starting at C-G.

Prairie Ridge vs. McHenry: The series starts Thursday at Petersen Park in McHenry, then moves to Prairie Ridge on Saturday, and back to McHenry on Monday.

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