Prep Baseball Insider: Slow going for Cadets
All the teams in the area have been hit hard by postponements this spring but none have seen their schedule dented worse than Marmion.
The Cadets entered the week having played only eight games on the season, three coming on a spring break trip to Tennessee.
The Cadets completed a total of zero games all last week. Marmion was in the fifth inning of a game against Marian Central on April 15 when rain suspended the game.
Marmion coach Dave Rakow said tending to the Cadets' home field has been straining.
"Our field looks the same as it does when it gets an inch of rain," Rakow said on Saturday, the day of the Cadets' most recent cancellation. "I guess that's the good news. The thing that's worrying us about our field in particular is a spot on the grass by first base that's puddling up that's difficult to treat. … When you have standing water in grass, that's a problem. I don't know why that's happening."
Marmion was 4-4 going into Monday's game against Aurora Christian.
"We've got talent but we're really [inexperienced] and we make stupid mistakes late in games, and it costs us so far," Rakow said. "We need to learn how to finish the game. With a mostly junior-laden team, it's something that I think will come with experience but unfortunately we haven't been able to play [games] consistently yet this year."
The four-time defending conference champion Cadets might not have as smooth of a road to contention in the SCC Blue this spring.
Rakow, noting that several teams in the conference that used to be easier wins are now on the upswing, said he's not sweating the conference race.
Given the way the season has unfolded, Rakow isn't yet sure how realistic his team's chances are.
"If we can win conference, that'll be great," Rakow said. "If not, so be it. Right now it's still trying to figure out who the players are and who aren't."
Backstop bodes well for Saints
Junior Adam Rojas is drawing good reviews in his first season as St. Charles East's catcher.
Senior pitcher Troy Dykhuis said Rojas is strong defensively.
"He's got a very good arm and I'm real confident throwing the curveball in the dirt and knowing he'll be able to block it," Dykhuis said. "Just all the way round, a very good player."
East coach Len Asquini has other options with catching experience – namely Joe Hoscheit and Brian Sobieski – but likes that Rojas' emergence allows those two big bats to focus more on their offense.
Rojas also showcased his durability Saturday, catching both legs of East's doubleheader sweep against Elgin.
"He's a workhorse back there," Dykhuis said.
Game (back) on
Batavia is scheduled to complete its weather-postponed Upstate Eight Conference crossover game against Lake Park on Friday.
The host Bulldogs trailed the Lancers, 2-0, in the top of the fifth inning on April 15 when the game was postponed due to inclement weather.
IN THE GROOVE
Bobby Hess, Geneva, Sr., OF
What he did: Hess hit for the cycle in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader sweep against Streamwood, going 4 for 5 in a 12-6 Vikings win.
St. Charles East starting pitching
What the Saints did: Nick Huskisson and Troy Dykhuis both provided excellent starts on Saturday as St. Charles East swept Elgin, 5-0 and 3-1, in a conference doubleheader.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST WEEK
Aurora Central Catholic knows how to put together a streak.
The Chargers ran their winning streak to a whopping 15 games on Saturday with a pair of wins at the Legends wood bat tournament.
WHAT WE'LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
Who winds up on top in a pair of weather-delayed Tri-Cities series.
Batavia and St. Charles East and Geneva and St. Charles North are both completing three-game conference series that – in both cases – had two of the three games postponed from last week to this week because of inclement weather.
COACH SLY SAYS
So far, this doesn't look like a great year for offense around the Tri-Cities, but the pitching is holding up pretty darn well.
St. Charles East's three-headed monster of Huskisson, Starai and Dykhuis has been especially impressive, and the performance of Batavia's starters has been right up there with them most of the season.
Geneva and St. Charles North haven't quite as strong top to bottom but the Vikings and North Stars also have some quality arms to throw at lineups.
Should make for an interesting postseason for all involved, even if the bats aren't always booming.