Baseball: St. Rita has big plans for 2015
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org June 17, 2014 8:16PM
Tyler Halas, of St. Rita, delivers a pitch against St. Laurence at St. Rita, Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 in Chicago. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 19, 2014 6:28AM
When St. Rita’s bats went into a funk during the final five games of the postseason, producing just nine runs, the pitching staff was required to carry much of the load during the Mustangs’ run to Class 4A runner-up.
Stepping up were three-year starters Mike Costanzo and Jake Shepski. Both will be playing college ball next season — Costanzo at Austin Peay, Shepski at Notre Dame.
If the Mustangs are going to bid for the 4A title in 2015, they’re going to need some pitchers to step up.
“I think offensively, we’ll be even stronger next season,” St. Rita coach Mike Zunica said. “But we’re losing two No. 1-type pitchers with Mike and Jake. Coming into the season, we knew we could count on those guys. We like the pitchers we have, they’re just not as established.”
Tyler Halas, who was 6-0, likely steps into the ace role. He’s also a starting infielder — likely either second base or third base— and either the No. 3 or No. 4 hitter in the batting order. Matt Lenzen was 5-0, though he logged just 232/3 innings. Lefty Matt Ryan and righty Sean Jaycox will receive opportunities to expand their roles.
The wild card is Max Franklin, a 6-foot-2, 180-pounder who’ll begin his junior year in the fall. Franklin has all sorts of potential, but must develop better command of his pitches.
“Hopefully, these guys will show us what they’re made of during the summer,” Zunica said. “To be fair, some of them didn’t get a lot of opportunities during the spring.”
It’s no wonder Zunica is excited about St. Rita’s potential offensively. Expected to return are the 1-2 punch at the top of the order, Danny Gleaves and Shane Peisker, along with Halas. Also factoring in are designated hitter Anthony Faron and shortstop Marty Bechina. Infielder Matt Murawski and outfielder Mateo Zunica, the coach’s son, should see their roles increase after receiving limited action this season.
“We have the potential to be explosive offensively,” Zunica said.
St. Rita finished runner-up in 4A for the third time in six seasons, falling to Catholic Blue rival Providence 4-1. Zunica said it was a tough loss to take. Even more difficult, though, was saying goodbye to his senior class.
“It was an unbelievable group of seniors,” Zunica said. “I love those guys. Life is about the journey, and we had a great journey. We ate a lot of meals together, went to church together. I’ll never forget them.”
Player of the Week
Jake Godfrey, of Providence, is the SouthtownStar Baseball Player of the Week.
Godfrey, an LSU recruit, pitched seven innings to help Providence to a 6-5 win in the Class 4A Champaign Supersectional title, earned the save during the Celtics’ 8-7 win in the 4A state semifinal and fired a two-hitter against St. Rita as Providence won the 4A state title.