Glenbard West’s baseball team is looking to make its own historical mark this spring.
After watching the boys basketball team capture a Class 4A state championship earlier this month, the Hilltoppers are pointing to their own special season in baseball.
Although his baseball team doesn’t have any basketball players, Glenbard West coach Andrew Schultz said his players are motivated for their own memorable run. The Hilltoppers finished with a 12-17 record and a 5-13 mark in the West Suburban Silver last season.
“Their success absolutely energized us and the school,” Schultz said of the basketball team. “What an unbelievable run they had, and so many of our guys were part of that fanbase.”
The Hilltoppers (2-0-1) are playing in a tournament in Louisville over spring break, with senior Chase Krueger earning the win Monday. Krueger’s strong showing on the mound and at the plate is a major factor for the undefeated start. Nolan King picked up the save.
“Chase has been solid on the mound in two starts this season,” Schultz said. “He’s also hitting .500 through three games with a team-high five RBIs. Senior Nolan King has been great in the two-hole for us. He’s also hitting .500 with five runs scored and three stolen bases.”
Krueger said he’s feeling comfortable on the mound and aiming for a 3-0 record in Louisville.
“My mindset hasn’t really changed from last year as I don’t get too high or too low,” Krueger said. “I’ve been feeling good on the mound. My stuff has been good. I know I have to dial it in for the rest of the tourney. My curveball has been working well and my fastball plays up in the zone because I have a low arm slot.”
On March 21, Will McKinnon sparked the Hilltoppers with his relief work in the home opener, pitching five solid innings to help turn a 10-1 deficit into a 13-12 victory over Glenbard East. McKinnon notched his first varsity win with his stellar relief work. Trevor Metz finished with three hits, including a walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh.
“It was a thrilling home opener for us,” Schultz said. “Through three games, I’m really pleased overall. All three games have been competitive until the last pitching. We’ve played well and our kids have shown a lot of heart so far in close games.”
Krueger said the comeback win was a key early season victory.
“We worked together as a family and everyone helped us achieve the win,” he said. “It was amazing. In the fifth inning, we all huddled together and said we weren’t losing this game. Everyone was leaders. It was an amazing win.”
Montini enjoying Orlando
Montini is among the Chicago area teams spending spring break competing at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. The Broncos are slated to play six games in Orlando, which is a long-standing tradition, coach Rich Janor said.
The Broncos, the 2019 Class 3A state champions, head to Orlando with four wins in their first five games.
Janor said he’s been testing out various lineups early in the season.
“We’re experimenting with different lineups and trying different combinations in hopes of solidifying our lineup prior to conference play,” he said. “Estevan Moreno and Cash Campbell have led our offense.”
Wheaton Academy in Myrtle Beach
Wheaton Academy is playing a little bit closer to home, competing in a spring break tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Warriors have had several games canceled due to bad weather. Wheaton Academy has lost to Montini and Fenwick.
“We’ve had two close games, but we will be playing some games in better weather this week,” Wheaton Academy coach Brian Whartnaby said.