Baseball notes: St. Francis on five-game winning streak, thinking state run

Spartans own quality wins over Loyola, Brother Rice

St. Francis seniors  Dylan Ston, Cole Danner and Jake Glaudel shown here signing their letters of intent with Carthage College.

Wednesday was a day off for the St. Francis baseball team.

But three players still managed to find some time to get together for a milestone moment that showed the closeness of the team.

Seniors Dylan Ston, Cole Danner and Jake Glaudel all participated in a signing ceremony Wednesday afternoon to commit to playing baseball at Carthage College.

Ston, the son of St. Francis girls volleyball coach Lisa Ston, said he shares a special bond with all of his current – and future teammates.

“It’s so special to have four more years with two of my teammates,” Ston said. “We have been bonded through our team.”

On the field, the Spartans’ bond is also evident in the win-loss column. St. Francis, which finished 27-9 last season, has won five straight games heading into Thursday’s road game against Aurora Central Catholic.

The Spartans (11-3, 3-1 Chicago Catholic Red) own quality wins over Loyola and Brother Rice.

“I think most exciting thing is we’ve played, and this my fourth year here, the toughest schedule so far,” St. Francis coach Tom Ciombor said. “We were in Florida and played five games there. The competition was really, really good. I think maybe because of the success we’ve had in the last few years, facing really good pitching and with the caliber of competition and how we competed, we’ve been playing well. Two of our losses this season have been by one run. We’ve been in every game.”

Ston said part of the success by the Spartans stems from their close culture -- an intangible that can’t be measured by statistics but is very valuable.

“The bond this team has is so special,” Ston said. “Everyone gets along. The team has found a balance between having fun, laughing and being serious playing, which is special and also a hard middle ground to find.

“This team has the potential to win state. We have stud arms and have too many bats that are hot at the same time to even put them all in the lineup. We’re deep and skilled, while playing with intelligence. This team will be dangerous come playoff time.”

Ston, a first baseman, said he worked on becoming stronger for his senior season, and is hitting .471 with 11 RBIs this season. Ston batted 8 for 14 with seven RBIs, five runs scored and two stolen bases in a four-game stretch that included Brother Rice, Loyola and Leo.

“Lifting and hitting have been my main focus,” Ston said. “My approach at the plate has been the biggest game changer, along with getting way stronger.”

Ciombor credits overall depth and a solid pitching staff for his team getting off to a fast start this season. Senior Logan Swaney and Colt Armburst have led the staff. Amburst is 3-1 with a 0.95 ERA, while Swaney is 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA. Junior catcher Joey Gainer is batting .480 with 18 RBIs.

“Our pitching has been strong,” he said. “Colt and Logan have kind of carried us. Both are throwing strikes and we are really strong up the middle defensively.”

Ciombor said the development of freshman centerfielder James McGrath is a major bonus for his program.

“I’ve already been getting calls on him,” he said. “He’s legit. He started as a safety on the football team. He’s spectacular and the real deal, a four-tool guy with pro potential.”

Wheaton Academy Part 2

Wheaton Academy raised its winning streak to 14 in a row following Wednesday’s rout over Aurora Christian. If the Warriors can topple Aurora Christian again this afternoon, they will have matched last season’s 15-game streak.

Wheaton Academy infielder Will Clegg said the team is rolling. The Warriors (14-1) received a stellar effort from Eric DeCosta on Wednesday, as he struck out six and allowed two hits in four innings on 55 pitches.

“Our current winning streak is similar in the fact of the roles that everyone is playing,” Clegg said. “Last year, we won because we had strong pitchers that were able to go the distance when needed and the bats to carry us on offense. We were so successful because we had a deep lineup.

“This year we have had a lot of underclassmen and some juniors fill in the rolls of the (graduated) seniors. Our defense has been pretty much locked down and our pitching has been consistent and efficient. We have a deep pitching staff that throws a lot of strikes and is ready to attack every hitter.”

Tidbits: Lyons senior pitcher Brady Chambers, a Michigan State recruit, gave up six hits and five runs in a 6-5 win over St. Laurence on Wednesday. Chambers pitched 4 1/3rd innings, striking out eight batters…Glenbard East (10-7-1, 6-2) has won six games in a row to stand in third place in the Upstate Eight Conference.

Bob Narang

Bob Narang is a contributing sports reporter to Shaw Local News Network