Baseball: Spring, Caccia lead St. Charles North past Glenbard East to regional title

North Stars respond with dominant 10-0, five-inning win

St. Charles North's Jackson Spring

ADDISON – Todd Genke knows what his team is capable of.

After a shaky victory in a regional semifinal May 22, the longtime St. Charles North baseball coach went back to the basics during two days of practices in preparation for the regional championship against Glenbard East on May 25.

“We went back to the fundamentals and talked about how important each and every pitch is,” Genke said. “We talked about each man to himself. Each man must be more prepared and have more situation awareness. We made some very uncharacteristic mistakes [on Wednesday] and it sounds generic, but when you get to this point of the season, you sometimes lose sight of those fundamentals.”

The North Stars responded in a big way.

St. Charles North scored in four of five innings May 25, including a home run from Jackson Spring, in a dominant 10-0 victory over Glenbard East in five innings to win the Class 4A Addison Trail Regional title.

The victory clinched the program’s first regional title since 2021. It was the 10th overall regional crown for Genke as head coach at St. Charles North.

The win also came a year after St. Charles North had fallen in a regional title game to rival Batavia, something that had not left the minds of the returning North Stars (27-5), including starting pitcher Josh Caccia.

The senior right-hander allowed just one hit – an infield hit – Saturday while striking out three in the five-inning shutout.

“There’s no doubt that last year definitely stung,” said Caccia, who started last year’s regional title game. “This entire year I told myself that I was not going to lose in the regional championship. I think we all want to go a lot farther than this and it’s the only mindset to have right now.”

While several numbers stood out in the decisive win, including 10 team walks – the last of which was issued to Jaden Harmon to end the game – maybe the most important number for the North Stars on Saturday was 50.

After retiring the first 10 Glenbard East batters, Caccia’s pitch count through the five scoreless innings was only 50 pitches, making him an option to start Wednesday’s St. Charles North Sectional semifinal against South Elgin.

“If I was any other team, I’d be worried,” Spring said of Caccia being available. “Every time he gets out there, he’s going to compete and give you everything he’s got. He pitches with a chip on his shoulder and he doesn’t care who you are. You love going to battle with guys like that any day of the week.”

Caccia, who induced double plays in his final two innings, credited his defense for his confidence to throw strikes Saturday morning.

“Knowing that I have guys behind me that can literally make just about any play for me lets me pitch freely,” Caccia said. “I know if I miss my spot a little bit, my defense is going to pick me up. Strikeouts, honestly, are just outs that usually cost you extra pitches, so if I can throw strikes and get quicker outs, I’ll always take that.”

Spring reached base and came around to score in all four of his plate appearances, finishing the day 2 for 2 with a home run, two walks and an RBI. Colin Ryder added four RBIs on two walks and two sacrifice flies. Ty Heimbuch also reached base in each of his four plate appearances (three walks and a triple) for the North Stars.

Chris Ludwig, who came on in relief to pitch for Glenbard East (19-13-2), had the Rams’ only hit.