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Schwab: Batavia’s Tenuta still has itch to pitch

Geneva basketball’s Santos becoming hot property

Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 5:31 a.m. CDT

Depending on how his college years unfold, there might end up being a silver lining for Batavia pitcher Emilio Tenuta to the Bulldogs baseball team’s upset loss in regionals.

Tenuta was waffling on whether to pursue college baseball but said the Bulldogs’ jarring, 5-4 loss to Hoffman Estates in an IHSA Class 4A Bartlett Regional semifinal supplied motivation to stay at it.

Tenuta, now playing summer ball with the Kane County Phantoms, is hoping to walk-on at Iowa in the fall.

“My mindset behind it was if we go pretty far [in the postseason] and do well, that’s one way to end my baseball career, but clearly it didn’t end the way we wanted it to,” Tenuta said. “So I was like, I don’t want to stop playing baseball. That kind of drove me to want to walk on at Iowa.”

For the foreseeable future, Tenuta’s prospects with the Hawkeyes are in limbo. The right-hander had reached out to Iowa’s previous coaching staff but, in late May, Hawkeyes head coach Jack Dahm was dismissed.

Tenuta plans to reboot his outreach when a new coaching staff is in place. 

Tenuta was somewhat overshadowed on a deep Batavia pitching staff by fellow seniors Luke Horton and Austin Shanahan, but Tenuta made strong contributions in a 27-7 season for the Bulldogs that included an Upstate Eight Conference River co-championship.

Tenuta went 5-1 with a 2.33 ERA, striking out 40 batters in 42 innings of work.

That level of success was hard to foresee after the late-blooming Tenuta’s junior year.

“As a junior, I didn’t even see any varsity innings whatsoever, and all the sudden I had a good summer season, and guys on the team were telling me ‘You’re college material,’ ” Tenuta said. “Luke Horton told me he could see me going D-I. That was kind of a lot to process, but I was like ‘Might as well pursue it and see what happens.’ ”

Horton and former Batavia shortstop Billy Zwick are among Tenuta’s summer teammates with the Phantoms, who also feature recent Kaneland graduate John Hopkins in their pitching mix. Tenuta anticipates making some starts and relieving for the Phantoms, and figures his participation will keep him sharp for a potential walk-on tryout in the fall.

If things don’t pan out from a baseball standpoint in Iowa City, Tenuta is prepared to move on, but he’d love to be part of a happier baseball ending than what unfolded last month.

“I’m going to work as hard as I can in order to get on the team,” Tenuta said. “Absolutely.”

Santos recruitment gaining steam: Geneva boys basketball junior wing KJ Santos’ recruiting stock is exploding this summer, with a recent scholarship offer from DePaul the latest evidence.

DePaul, Illinois-Chicago and Fairfield have extended offers to Santos, and numerous other D-I programs – including many from high-profile conferences – are keeping close tabs on the sharpshooting, 6-foot-5 wing. Santos made only a varsity cameo late last season for the Vikings after playing most of the season with the sophomores.

The Vikings seemingly have a pair of future Division I players in the class of 2015. Like Santos, Geneva forward Nate Navigato has been offered a scholarship by UIC, and anticipates additional offers in the months to come.

If Santos goes the Division I route, he’ll likely become the third sibling in his family to play high-level college basketball. Ashley Santos is a guard in the Marquette women’s basketball program while Sidney Santos, who will be a senior for the Geneva girls basketball team this winter, is being recruited by numerous D-I programs, including St. Bonaventure, TCU, Virginia Tech and Wichita State.

• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or jschwab@shawmedia.com.

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