Varsity Baseball Media Day
Varsity Baseball Media Day
Abby Gedville

Baseball Season Preview

The boys’ varsity baseball team’s 2023 season ended with an upsetting defeat to Crystal Lake South, 4-3. After their training during the off-season, they are ready to kick things off again.

This past season, the boys held a record of 12-17-1 out of conference and 9-9 in conference, which was good enough for a fifth-place finish in the Northern Lake County Conference. During the off-season, they got back to work in the weight room preparing for the upcoming spring. They were not happy with how last year ended, and that’s what motivated them. “We just really want to get better,” senior JJ Jackson shared. “So this year when teams play us they underestimate us and we shock the conference.”

“This offseason we were all locked in and focused in the weight room making sure that doesn’t happen again.” senior first baseman, Spencer Kennamann, added.

Last year, both Wauconda and Grayslake Central were key teams in the NLCC, and posed a large threat to the varsity team. Wauconda went 10-8, and Central went undefeated in the conference and ended their season as state runner-up. With strong teams like this in their conference, senior center fielder Derek Lucier “[t]hey’ve just kind of always been solid every year, so they will be tough ones to take down.”

One big problem for teams when coming back after a season is losing their strongest seniors. But with them being such a young team, and losing only one starter from the last season, Lucier commented “I think we’ll just have a replacement second baseman with Ethan Jablonski or whoever kind of steps up for that role, but I think honestly will be fine.”

The baseball team is ready for their competition this year and are eager for their first game. “Everyone gets nervous before the first game it’s just how you get through those nerves.” Jackson said, “For me, all the nerves go away after the first pitch.” With most of their team back, plus a few new faces, they are preparing to go on a playoff run. “I feel like we’re really solid this year, and honestly, one through nine I think we’re going to be all pretty tough to get out and I think we’re just gonna play with that confidence,” Lucier shares.

The boys have high hopes for the season looking to bring home a conference title, and maybe a regional title, for only the fifth time in Lakes history. Kennamann also remarked that “[s]tate is the main goal but regionals are just as important in our eyes. We wanna get our plaque and be part of the school’s history, and It’s not only a personal goal between a few of us, it’s the whole team locked in ready to reach that goal.”

Lucier, Jackson, and Kennamann are just a few of the seniors on the team, but some new and returning juniors such as Owen Klosinski and Zack Raffone are looking to make an impact. For Klosinski, this is his second year on varsity after receiving all-conference last year. “Owen is a huge part of the team. He has a great arm and has a really good batting average. We rely on him a lot.” stated Jackson. For Raffone, it’s his first year on varsity. Lucier said, “We added Zack this year and when the moment comes for him to play, I think he’ll do great.”

This season is just kicking off, and the seniors realize it’s their last chance to seize a run deep into the state playoffs. With all this confidence and off-season work, they have high hopes for the season and plan to put their best foot forward.

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