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Prep Baseball Insider: Surging Saints 'having a great time'

Published: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 12:16 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Sean King for Shaw Media)
St. Charles East’s Reid Olson is hit by a pitch while batting Wednesday against St. Charles North at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva.

St. Charles East coach Len Asquini admits it would be "a miracle to even tie" Upstate Eight Conference River Division leader Batavia.

The Bulldogs entered Tuesday with two conference losses and one tie compared to six River defeats for the Saints.

Then again, considering East would be gearing up for a deep playoff run regardless of its position, a six-game winning streak holds pretty strong currency.

"We're excited. We're having a great time playing baseball," second baseman Alex Abate said. "We've got everyone in the game. Even if they're not in the lineup, they're excited on the bench. We're just going to keep that going, keep winning."

East has clicked behind what right-hander Mike Boehmer calls a "pretty deep" pitching staff, a balanced, timely attack and jelling defense.

"We never doubt what type of team we are," center fielder Brannon Barry said. "And we've had some rough patches along the way, but we know what kind of team we are. We're going to see how it all comes down … at the end of the conference race. It's always fun."

Newcomer Norman catching on

Kaneland opened the season with youth at the catcher's spot, and sophomore Joe Laudont's recent broken thumb hasn't changed that.

Coach Brian Aversa promoted freshman Josh Norman to fill in behind the plate. The younger brother of former Knights left-hander Alex Norman took quickly to the role.

"He's familiar with how we do things with Kaneland," Aversa said. "We don't ever move guys up just to move guys up. They either play or they go back down."

Doctors initially assigned a recovery period of four to six weeks to Laudont's injury. Monday marked two weeks.

Senior Sean Dunphy has played designated hitter for Norman's spot in the order in the interim.

"It's been a pretty good sort of one-two punch with those guys," Aversa said.

Coffey enjoying hot corner

Even amid a position change from first base to third, Batavia senior Micah Coffey still has confidence cornered.

His recent shift fills a need to "lock that corner" down, with Bulldogs coach Matt Holm not wanting to risk other teams potentially exploiting it. The athletic Coffey embraced the challenge of his first full-time duty at third.

"It's fun to me," Coffey said. "My first couple years playing varsity I switched around a lot, played a lot of different positions. The change is welcome. It's been a lot of fun to be able to transition a little bit, play a couple of different positions, so I'm having fun."

Jacob Piechota plays first base when he's not pitching. Matt Musielak started at first in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader at Geneva when Piechota was on the mound.

"It's been a couple weeks now and we've got kids that have stepped up well and played first base, so we're putting things together," Coffey said. "It feels good."

IN THE GROOVE

Brannon Barry

St. Charles East, Sr., CF

What he did: Barry helped East sweep Streamwood in a Saturday doubleheader, contributing a two-run single in the opener while collecting two hits and two RBIs in Game 2.

Marmion's offense

What the Cadets did: Marmion has scored at least nine runs in three of its past six games entering Tuesday. The run includes Thursday's 15-5, five-inning victory against Aurora Central Catholic.

WHAT WE LEARNED LAST WEEK

St. Francis is remaining steady. Thursday's victory against Walther Christian marked the Spartans' 17th overall and ninth in the Suburban Christian Conference. "Winding down conference play here and gearing up toward the playoffs," St. Francis coach Rich Janor said. "We're just trying to put the gas pedal down and get some momentum going into the playoffs."

WHAT WE'LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD

The specifics of postseason pairings. While assignments surfaced earlier this spring and seeds were released Tuesday, pairings for the upcoming IHSA postseason are set to be announced this afternoon. St. Charles North is a 4A regional host. St. Charles East, Batavia and Geneva will join the North Stars in the Schaumburg Sectional.

COACH SLY SAYS ...

Way to chatter, kids.

Sly heard about the extra chants coming from the St. Charles East dugout lately, and let this fox just say he approves.

In a sport that can have its share of lulls, why not try to keep an edge by staying on your feet?

And staying in full-throat, of course.

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