Boys baseball’s potential, progress shines in Alabama


Carlos T. Miranda

Senior Peyton Dillingham will be expected to play outfield and be one of the team’s top hitters during the 2017 season.

Glenn Kinley, Staff Reporter

The boys baseball team took its annual spring break trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama this year, and they didn’t come back empty handed.

The team went 5-1 on the trip and finished runner-up in a tournament of over 50 teams.

For a team that came into the 2017 season with big hopes and high expectations, the successful tournament served as a large stepping stone to getting where they want to be.

After a 3-2 start to the season in Illinois, multiple players on the team viewed the trip as a large move in the right direction for the experienced Normal West squad.

“We came together really well as a team the whole trip. We bonded a lot while we were down there and I think we came a long way as a group in that trip alone,” said senior Nick Watson. Watson pitched multiple games for the team that helped lead them to a successful tournament. However, Watson credited his catcher, Austin Schwartz, for helping him along the way.

“My catcher called some really good games. It definitely helps,” Watson said.

However, despite Nick Watson’s helpful work on the mound, the Wildcats pointed out that it was a full team effort that got the team so many wins over spring break. Besides seniors Schwartz and Watson, Caleb Jacobs and Jake Marti, others players came through in big ways.

“We looked good all around,” said Watson. “Our whole lineup played really well on the same days and it worked out good,” added Schwartz.

More than anything, the trip helped the team prove to themselves that the sky’s the limit. “If we all play well on the same day we proved that we can do some really big things,” said senior Andrew Kurdys. “We showed a lot of potential,” he added.

The key for the Wildcats will be to continue their solid team play as they head into the start of their Big 12 conference schedule. “The goal is to have a 30 win season,” said Jacobs, a Western Illniois recruit.

Perhaps over spring break the team learned exactly what needs to be done to get to that point. “We came together as a team, lots of guys stepped up, and we learned really the way we’re going to  have to play to be successful,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs also pointed out that the team will have to learn to play their game, no matter who the opponent is. “We were playing teams we’d never seen before and never heard of before. Here we know everyone. We have to play the teams here as if we don’t know them- we have to focus on our own game,” Jacobs said.

The team is looking to get their home schedule started on the right foot with a home-opener game Friday night against Chatham Glenwood, followed by their first conference game Saturday against Champaign Centennial.