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Baseball: Crete-Monee looking for more on defense

Updated: May 24, 2014 6:34AM



Crete-Monee coach Gene Cahan has been pleased with his team’s pitching and ability to score runs. Defense, however, is another story and the main reason the Warriors were 5-6 through Monday.

“That’s where we’ve been inconsistent,” he said. “We’ve got to make plays because I believe we have the pitching to compete.”

Senior left-hander Brandon Hickey, who was 5-0 with an 0.63 ERA in 2013, has picked up where he left off as staff ace. Robert Morris and Olivet Nazarene have offered Hickey scholarships, and UIC has showed some interest.

“Brandon is a swing-and-miss type of pitcher,” Cahan said. “He can get his fastball up to the mid-80s (mph).”

Cahan also has been pleased with the performance of sophomore lefty Matt Sonntag. Further depth on the bump comes in the form of juniors General McArthur and Logan Kent, who double as the team’s starting shortstop and catcher, respectively.

Offensively, the Warriors have registered single-game totals of 19, 15 and 13 runs.

Justin Kozinski leads the team in hits, while Kent also has proved dangerous with the bat.

Crete-Monee had its five-year run as Southland Conference champ snapped last season by Rich Central. However, if the defense comes around, Cahan likes the Warriors’ ability to regain its spot on top of the conference.

“If we pick up the ball consistently, I like our chances,” Cahan said.

Shepard giving its all

Like any coach, Shepard’s Frank DiFoggio would like to see a few more victories from his team.

The lack of victories — the Astros were 5-7 through Monday — cannot be pinned on a lack of effort from his team.

Quite the contrary.

“We’ve been kind of up and down, but we really fight to the last out,” DiFoggio said. “It doesn’t matter who we play, this team is going to get after it. They’re giving it everything they’ve got.”

The Astros generally start six juniors — Eric Horbach, Bobby Peterka, Mark Albrecht, Ken Gorski, John Korbakes and Adam Gregory — and sophomore Kevin Carmody. DiFoggio is excited about their development, especially that of Peterka, who started at catcher on varsity as a freshman.

“He’s gotten a lot stronger,” DiFoggio said. “Balls he used to slap at he’s now turning on.”

DiFoggio praised his seniors — Kevin Knoerzer, Brendan Hermann and Sam Hermanas — for providing an excellent example for the younger players.

“The seniors are leading by example,” DiFoggio said. “They’re doing a great job of leading the young guys.”

Player of the Week

Jake Latz, of Lemont, is the SouthownStar Baseball Player of the Week.

The senior left-hander and LSU recruit fired a four-hitter and struck out 14 to lead the Indians to a 1-0 win over Sandburg.



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