Devils find rhythm in field, on court

Baseball, softball and boys tennis teams warming up to their spring seasons

The Hinsdale Central baseball and softball squads' competitive schedules are already underway, while the two-time defending state champion boys tennis team faces its first test Monday in a quest for a third straight title.

This is the final installment in a four-part series previewing Central's spring sports programs.


First game: March 16 @ Palatine (V won 2-1)

Last year: 18-15, lost in regional final

Head coach: Jason Ziemer

Seasons as head coach: 11

No. varsity members: 27

Team strengths: We have great senior leaders and four sophomores that are on the squad this year, so it's an interesting mix that I've never really had here at Central. It's a very balanced roster and we have a lot of really good players. I think our biggest strength is our speed, agility and athleticism, and playing an aggressive style of baseball.

Areas for growth: We're coming off three really good years, so this year is kind of a transition to a new era of Hinsdale Central baseball. We have seniors who didn't play a lot last year, and we're just trying to find the right mix of players. It's a little bit more challenging trying to find the right combinations. A lot of guys are going to get some opportunities to play, which is exciting. We're relying on senior pitchers on the staff who got some experience last year, while younger guys are playing more positional roles.

Who to watch: Seniors Aidan Conners, Ben Dynis, Tyler Frisoni, Julian Guerrero, Zach Gurland, Luke Jurack, Will Kusak and Will Merz.

Outlook: We won the conference two out of the last three years, but I think it's going to be the most difficult year in the conference since I've been here. Each team seems to have Division I players, so our players will get experience playing at a high level. We want to be playing our best baseball in May, building to that point when we're playing our best in the most important games. We want to get that regional champion plaque this year. We have guys who can run and play the game with that grit and grind that is really fun to watch. It's fun to coach teams like that.


First game: March 19 @ Glenbard East (V loses 4-7)

Last year: 11-16, lost in regional final

Head coach: Brittany Zust

Seasons as head coach: 8

No. varsity members: 12

Team strengths: We have three seniors who have been around the block and they have the seen the team both at low points and seen what we are capable of. I really like those three leading our younger girls. I like how the players hold one another accountable, which you don't see all the time, like getting extra reps or going off to the side and help mentor someone, and pushing the message that we have something to work for and something to fight for.

Areas for growth: All of our pitchers are underclassmen, so they need to get experience. No game for us is ever a walk in the park. If you want to win games, you've got to play a full seven innings. We've got to work hard and make sure that we're at least putting forth 110 percent effort in every game.

Who to watch: Seniors Maisie McDaniel and Naomi Cook are forces to be reckoned with in the field and at the plate. Junior Sophie DiPasquale continues to hit the ball well. Sophomores Gabriella Georganas, Audrey Araujo and pitcher Lauren Koschik will be key contributors, and we're lucky to get freshmen pitchers Elle Kinder and Malia Kuo joining our squad.

Outlook; We want to walk away from the season come June knowing that we left it all on the field. We came off a pretty good year last year, and we want to continue to stretch that. We are on the upswing and I want to see us continue to get more wins and, even in games that we don't win, make sure that we compete.

Boys tennis

First match: April 1 vs. Chicago University High School

Last year: state champion

Head coach: John Naisbitt

Seasons as head coach: 15

No. varsity members: 26

Team strengths: We've got a lot of good players. We have great depth with four returnees from last year's state championship team, Some of the guys from last year's roster have been waiting to get their chance.

Areas for growth: We're looking for good practices and staying healthy. We can't sustain a major injury. We also need to stay hungry because we're going for our third straight state title. It's not easy to win three straight, so we have to be extremely vigilant about our practices and staying healthy.

Who to watch: senior Alex Kotarski was runner-up in singles at state last year, He's a team captain and as a veteran is going to anchor us as a team. Senior Aidan Hernandez and his brother, Nathan, a junior will be key. Junior Bodie Teuscher is an excellent doubles player and been through the grind of the state tournament. Sophomore Barry Zhu is an excellent talent. Junior Isaac Schloegel hits the ball well. Also junior Logan Milton, and freshmen Richard Zhang, Patrick Wang and Amir Khan are some nice players.

Outlook: We anticipate good things. The conference is always a solid conference, but we're looking to take our 30th straight conference title. We want to be playing our best tennis in the last weekend in May. That's my job and the coaching staff's job is to get us ready to go for May 25.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean