The summer baseball setup around the Tri-Cities has undergone changes this year, including the addition of a conference tournament that begins Monday at the East Side Sports Complex in St. Charles.
The eight-team tournament will run Monday through Wednesday and will be played with wood bats.
It was bracketed based on teams’ results as part of a new conference structure implemented for summer baseball.
St. Charles North is the tournament’s top seed, followed by West Chicago (2), Batavia (3), South Elgin (4), Geneva (5), St. Charles East (6), Larkin (7) and Kaneland (8).
Games will be played Monday and Tuesday at East Side Sports Complex at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. each day before shifting to St. Charles North on Wednesday.
The eight teams participating are part of what has been called the “Wayne DeMaar” division, named for the former St. Charles High athletic director.
North coach Todd Genke is a fan of the new, locally driven summer scheduling.
“I think the games have been much closer to what the spring would be, much closer games, so we’ve won our fair share of those games,” Genke said. “I’m seeing a lot of good things from the younger guys.”
The summer state baseball tournament will begin the week after next.
Road trip: St. Charles East baseball coach Len Asquini was in Arizona this weekend to watch former Saints pitcher Matt Reynolds pitch with the Diamondbacks against his former team, the Colorado Rockies.
Asquini said he and Joe Host – who was the Saints’ pitching coach when Reynolds was in high school, and now is pitching coach at Joliet West – have attempted to go see Reynolds pitch every year that he’s been in the majors.
“We find some time to get away for a day or two and see him play,” Asquini said. “It’s pretty dang neat, and now that he’s in Arizona, I’ve never seen Arizona’s park, so we said ‘Let’s do it.’ ”
Reynolds returned the favor on June 1, throwing a ceremonial first pitch before St. Charles East’s sectional title game at East against Wheaton North. He was in the area that weekend as the Diamondbacks played the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
All quiet on Starai front: Asquini said he was still unsure if right-handed pitcher Matt Starai had made his college decision.
Starai, the Kane County Chronicle Baseball Player of the Year, could not be reached for comment Friday, but recently indicated he was closing in on making a late decision on where he’d go next year.
Starai said last month that he was considering Heartland and Parkland community colleges downstate as well as Lee University in Tennessee, a four-year school that is transitioning to Division II.
Starai went 11-1 with a 0.59 ERA this spring for the Saints, who finished in third place in Class 4A.
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or email@example.com.