By Mike Miazga

Correspondent

 

The York baseball team led off the season with a 3-for-3 effort, scoring non-conference victories against Naperville Central, Glenbard East and Waubonsie Valley.

York downed Naperville Central 7-5 and scored a 7-1 win at home against Glenbard East before coming from behind to defeat Waubonsie Valley 11-4.

“We gloved it pretty well,” said York coach Dave Kalal of the first two wins. “Defensively we did well and our approach at the plate was pretty good. In one of the games we had seven runs on three hits and drew six walks and had two hit-by-pitch. We came up with a couple big hits with guys in scoring position.”

Andrew Deardurff had a three-run double in the game against Naperville Central. “We executed,” said Kalal. “We executed situational hitting in both games very well. It’s the little things we preach about that don’t show up in the box score. A good at-bat is getting a guy over to third from second or having an at-bat where a groundball scores a baserunner. Everybody who is a baseball fan wants to see the big hits and all that stuff, but what wins games are the little things that go unrecognized.”

Kalal also was pleased with the team’s pitching in the first two games. “Our pitching has been good,” he said. “Charlie Pakenas started the Naperville Central game and Kellen Gilmartin came in to finish it and got the win. Jake Hadawi threw four innings against Glenbard East and Carl Baker threw the fifth and sixth and John Milling threw the seventh. We’ve seen five pitchers throw already in two games. That’s the plan in these non-conference games. You want to see as many kids on the mound as you can to see if they can pitch at the varsity level.”

York was fleet of foot as well out of the gates, stealing six bases against Naperville Central and five more against Glenbard East. “Our team speed is really good,” said Kalal. “The great thing about this team is we have guys, more than half, who are two- and three-sport athletes. We have two guys, John Milling and Joey Orrico who are threes-sport athletes. That makes it so much more competitive in practices because these guys want to get in the games. They want to best their buddies. This will be an interesting year as things go on to see where we are at.”

Kalal said York once again must navigate a tough West Suburban Conference Silver Division. “That’s the big question,” he said. “The conference is loaded again, especially with Glenbard West making the final eight teams in the summer. We are hopeful. Last year we started conference 8-1 and then went 1-8 in the second half. You never know. However, we bring back 16 kids from last year’s team that won 23 games and four of them are only juniors this year. We brought back about 140 innings on the mound. We have kids with experience, but at the same time we have a 27-man roster and of those 27 it includes 15 juniors and four of them were with us last year. We have experience, but at the same time we still have a lot of learning to do and a lot of things to work on.”

In the 11-4 win over Waubonsie Valley, York trailed 4-0 at one point before putting up a nine spot in the fourth inning. Mike Pastuovic had three hits for the Dukes, while Ryan Ross and Elliott Achepohl each had two hits. Ian Steinorth had two RBI and Scott Tucker threw three innings and registered six strikeouts for the winners.

York has a fairly full plate over spring break this week. The Dukes were scheduled to play Rolling Meadows Monday, Maine South today and Addison Trail Saturday.

“We’ll be seeing some good teams,” said Kalal. “For us, we know we bring back a lot of innings on the mound and at-bats from last year, which ended up not turning out how we would have liked. The kids are motivated. We have good team chemistry going on. The kids are pushing each other in practice. Everybody is pushing each other to do well. It’s a fun group.”

 

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