Baseball: 2014 Season outlook
By LaMond Pope firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-2691 Twitter: @lamondpope March 31, 2014 9:26PM
Lake Central's Alec Olund connects on a pitch during a game against Crown Point on Tuesday, in Crown Point. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 2, 2014 6:29AM
Five teams to watch
Andrean: The 59ers are deep at a lot spots. The team has nine pitchers, including seniors Matt DeSomer, Jimmy Skiff, Danny Gomez, Frank Podkul and David Cox. Andrean has 15 letter-winners back.
Hobart: Brandon Murray, a South Carolina commit, has appeared on several preseason All-American lists. Shortstop Tyrus Joseforsky and catcher Nick Bokun earned first-team All-NCC honors. Outfielder Drey Devereaux (second-team All-NCC) and second baseman Travis Waddell are three-year starters. Brandon Barnes, a pitcher, is a newcomer to watch.
Lake Central: Outfielder Alec Olund, who is headed to Purdue, shortstop/pitcher Brenden Seren, pitcher/first baseman Chuck Alexa and pitcher/outfielder Blake Bosold will lead the way.
Munster: Outfielders/catchers Alex DelRio and Joe Jumonville were both honored by Perfect Game USA. Catcher Alex Coccia hit .325 last season. First baseman David Hladek (.313) and shortstop Alec Skalka, a three-year starter, also is back. Jonathan Azar and Sam Bell provide pitching.
Portage: Kevin Jones, who is committed to Northern Illinois, headlines the pitching staff. The loaded lineup also includes outfielders Chris Klenk (a Cincinnati commitment), Peter Psomedelis and infielders Alec Coates and Sam Schest.
Bishop Noll: Outfielders Larry Crisler, an Indiana recruit, provides leadership along with outfielder Jaylen Yarbrough and shortstop Angel Figueroa. Andrew Ramker takes charge as the coach, replacing Paul Wirtz.
Crown Point: Crown Point lost seven starters and three starting pitchers from 2013. Pitcher Noah Burkholder, who is committed to Louisville, is back to anchor the pitching staff. The outfield includes seniors Glenn Hecht (.333), Jake Jenks (.278) and Tyler Downing (.200).
Griffith: Kyle Buikema (.301 average, 29 runs) is back behind the plate. Infielders include Anthony Quintero (.294 average), Kody Hoese (16 RBI) and Josh Terzarial (.273 average). Matt Colomes (20 RBI, 24 runs), Robbie Hernandez (.338) and Brandon Garcia (.304) will patrol the outfield. Brett Tauber, who pitched 10 innings, is among the returning hurlers.
Hanover Central: The pitching staff includes Riley Welch, Daniel Balich and Evan Garthus. Welch went 5-1 with a 4.31 ERA. Balich was 5-1 with a 3.03 ERA and 37 strikeouts. Garthus went 3-1 with a 3.94 ERA. And they can hit. Welch had 31 RBI, Balich had a .402 average and Garthus hit .328. Jesse Wilkening, a catcher, hit .510 with 33 RBI and 41 runs.
Michigan City: The Wolves lost just two seniors to graduation. Logan Kaletha (.361 average) will pace the offense, along with Anthony Lemon, Scott Thomas, Ryan Washington and Garrett McDaniel.
Hitters to watch
Larry Crisler, Bishop Noll: The Indiana-bound outfielder had a .467 batting average in 2013. He had 43 hits in 92 at-bats and scored 50 runs. Crisler had 25 RBI and 15 doubles. He also stole 35 bases. He was named to the Perfect Game USA preseason All-Central honorable mention list.
Matt Dvorscak, Whiting: had a .394 batting average. He had 21 RBI in 26 games and scored 24 runs. Dvorscak had a .510 on-base percentage. His OPS was 1.102. He is on the Perfect Game USA preseason All-Central honorable mention list.
Joe Jumonville, Munster: The outfielder/catcher joined teammate Alex DelRio on the Perfect Game USA preseason All-Central honorable mention list. Jumonville hit .354 last season. He scored 32 runs and drove in 22.
Alec Olund, Lake Central: Olund, who is headed to Purdue, earned a spot on the Perfect Game USA preseason All-Central honorable mention list. He hit .386 with three home runs and 41 RBI in 2013.
Andrew Ralph, Chesterton: The outfielder gained all-conference honors after hitting .420 for the Trojans. He scored 20 runs and had a .540 on-base percentage.
Pitchers to watch
Noah Burkholder, Crown Point: The Louisville recruit went 6-0 with a 1.43 ERA last season. He struck out 48 in 341/3 innings and had a WHIP of 1.63. Burkholder made the Perfect Game USA preseason All-Central honorable mention list.
Matt DeSomer, Andrean: DeSomer went 8-0 with 61 strikeouts in 521/3 innings. He had a dazzling 1.74 ERA. DeSomer earned a spot on the Perfect Game USA preseason All-Central honorable mention list.
Kevin Jones, Portage: Jones had a 1.31 ERA. He struck out 81 in 531/3 innings. He made the Perfect Game USA preseason All-Central honorable mention list. He is committed to playing at Northern Illinois.
Brandon Murray, Hobart: The South Carolina recruit is on several preseason All-American lists. He had a 2.51 ERA and a school-record 111 strikeouts last year.
Scott Thomas, Michigan City: Thomas, the ace of the staff, had a 2.79 ERA in 2013. He struck out 35.
Hobart and Munster are ranked No. 4 and No. 8, respectively in the Class 4A Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association preseason poll. Andrean is No. 5 in Class 3A. Griffith and Hanover Central are among the schools receiving votes in Class 3A. Hebron is No. 10 in Class 2A. Bishop Noll is among the other schools receiving votes. Washington Township is in the receiving votes category in Class A.