Jon Young has really done it all for the Marmion baseball team this year. Not only has the junior started multiple games on the mound with success, but also has been the Cadets’ leadoff hitter for a good part of the season. Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Chris Casey caught up with the Batavia resident for the latest edition of the Weekend Chit-chat to talk about Marmion’s turnaround, attending a military academy and a few other topics. Here’s an edited transcript:
I’m assuming you’re a competitive person. How hard was it to stay focused during the slow start to the season?
It was difficult, for sure. But we have a bunch of guys on our team that stuck together. We also have good leadership on our team from the coaches keeping us positive, so we got through it together.
What do you think has been the biggest reason your team has turned around from a 4-14 start?
Well, it helps when your hitting picks up a ton as a team. After the St. Francis series, we have gotten a lot of timely hits. But our pitching with myself, Jake Esp and Garrett Hiles has continued to get better. So just kind of playing better really has been key.
Coach Dave Rakow did not have a particular reason why the team’s hitting just turned around all of a sudden. Do you?
To be honest, not really. I mean, I personally worked with my dad and brother. But we made it a point to stay after practices and get extra swings in. Whether it was throwing to each other in the cages, or having coaches do it. Sometimes when you put in the extra work, things like that can happen.
When you pitch, do you have to have a shorter memory if batting doesn’t go well that day?
Definitely, especially because I’m leading off. You have to put them on different sides and not let one affect the other. I’ve always tried to be a constant when it comes to pitching and defense, especially, and leave the hitting in the dugout when I go out there.
Being from Batavia, did you know any of the guys on the team when you faced them?
I know most of them pretty well. I played with Tyler Kledzik for the past couple of summers. I also know Steven Busby and Matt Musielak and am pretty close with them. I didn’t get the chance to pitch against them when we played them as a sophomore, so it was a cool experience to be on opposing sides.
How impressed have you been with the performance of the younger players, in particular, Brandon McPherson?
Brandon has been really hitting well. I actually told coach today that he just is too young to be nervous [Young laughed]. But he really just doesn’t get nervous, and it’s crazy how well he has played. All of the younger guys are good baseball players, so it’s not a surprise to see them making an impact.
What’s it like throwing to a freshman catcher in Chase Stanke?
He’s a confident player, so it’s been going well. He has a short memory and continues to talk to the team and be vocal. I’ve made it a focus to get close with both Brandon and Chase, but especially Chase because we have to have a lot of trust in each other.
Does attending an all boys school help with team chemistry? Make you closer as a team?
We always hear people say things about having no girls at our school, but we don’t see it like that. We are a family at Marmion, and I think it has helped us become closer.
Does it help with discipline?
Discipline is a big part of baseball. People always talk about how Marmion keeps you in line and helps with taking a pitch and being patient, but it also just develops discipline in all aspects of life.
You still have another year left, but do you have any future plans or aspirations as far as sports?
My goal is to play baseball in college. My older brother (Andy) plays baseball at George Washington University in [Washington D.C.], so I have been working with him as well as with my parents, setting up showcases to go to and that sort of thing.
Which would you like to do more: Throw a perfect game or hit a walk-off home run? Any reason why?
Probably hit the home run. I’ve never done either. But my older brothers have all hit home runs, so if I did, it would kind of be like they wouldn’t have that edge on me anymore.