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Baseball: Evergreen Park getting in a groove

Mike Rizzo Evergreen Park drives shot against Oak Forest Evergreen Park Thursday April 24th 2014 Chicago. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times

Mike Rizzo, of Evergreen Park, drives a shot against Oak Forest at Evergreen Park, Thursday, April 24th, 2014 in Chicago. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 15, 2014 6:39AM



Expectations were high at Evergreen Park this season.

It took some time, but the Mustangs are living up to the preseason hype by way of an 11-game winning streak through Monday.

Evergreen Park boasts a 17-8 record after a 3-2 win Monday over Eisenhower.

“I don’t think we played bad early on,” Evergreen Park coach Mark Smyth said. “We didn’t have a good approach with two strikes and weren’t coming up with the big hit.”

The one constant, however, has been pitching and defense. The staff, led by senior Frank Meisl, boasts a minuscule 2.30 ERA.

Brian Pall and Joe Moran, a pair of junior pitchers, have stepped up big time.

“I kind of felt like the pitching staff was going to be our strength with Frank coming back,” Smyth said. “Brian and Joe have matured. They’ve learned a lot and are throwing inside to hitters more.”

Defensively, the infield of shortstop Mark Martin, second baseman Sean Miller and first baseman Corey Miller, along with catcher Mike Rizzo, has been spectacular. With the exception of Corey Miller, each is a returning starter.

The senior-led outfield of Dan Kohler, Keyshawn Carpenter and Kevin Farmer has been stellar.

“We’re not hammering anybody, but we’re winning close games,” Smyth said. “We’ve been very consistent and not beating ourselves.”

Rich Central seeking consistency

According to Rich Central coach Corey Stallings, his team’s up-and-down season can be attributed to a lack of consistently playing.

“We’ve had game canceled and it’s been difficult rescheduling,” Stallings said. “We haven’t been able to play with any consistency.”

The Olympians were 12-5 overall and 7-3 in the Southland Conference through Monday. With a lineup that includes David Dugger, Michael Hoover, Demetrius Todd and B.J. Falkner, the Olympians have the potential to put up runs in bunches.

Dugger and Justin Freeman anchor a solid pitching staff. Stallings is hoping for a strong finish to the regular season.

“We have the potential to do that,” he said. “We have a lot of talent. It would be nice to get into a rhythm and make a run heading into the playoffs.”

Player of the Week

Brandon Hannigan, of Crete-Monee, is the SouthtownStar Baseball Player of the Week.

Hannigan, a senior first baseman, was 13-for-20, with five doubles, two homers, nine runs and nine RBI for the Warriors.



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