As the Titan baseball team leads the CSL conference division with a 13-1 record and an overall record of 26-4, they are continuing to push themselves to excel in the playoffs and make it to State, according to head coach Steve Stanicek.
Over the last four years, South has won conference, and senior shortstop Mario Tursi is confident that the team can continue to carry out that title.
Tursi also explained that the whole team is committed to working towards the state tournament.
“I think everyone is on board and has confidence [that] we can go to state, so that’s our goal,” Tursi said. “[…] State’s been the goal since freshman year and this is our chance, so we are all trying to get that done.”
According to Tommy O’Hara, senior third baseman, the team started their season on a bad note with a loss to Barrington on March 26 in one of their first games of the season. The Titans were able to come back the next day, March 27, and beat Dundee Crown 17-2. According to O’Hara, he believes this is an example of the team’s growth.
“I think we are getting better at doing our job, understanding where we are and just playing [baseball],” O’Hara said.
Another key victory was a 10-0 win against Stevenson on April 1, the team which ended the Titans’ season last year in sectionals. According to senior catcher D.J. Dillon, the game was a comeback statement for the Titans. In more recent games, South played Evanston on April 22 and April 24, and swept both games.
“We know we are better than [Evanston] and we just have to continue to stay hot,” Dillon said. “Right now I would say that [primary competition is] Maine South and New Trier for us.”
GBS was able to conquer New Trier 16-5 on April 29 and 3-1 on May 1. According to Dillon, pitching by senior Conor McCarthy helped to carry the team in their first game against New Trier. In the second game, Dillon credits the victory to a hit from senior Rob Milota that triggered an attack at the plate, and senior Michael Lenckos who allowed the Trevians only one run while pitching.
“I thought we did really well in the first game, jumping on them right off the bat with our offense,” Dillon said. “The second game was a much better game […], [Lenckos] continued to get ahead of hitters which is always key.”
According to Dillon, many of the 13 seniors played together on the Glenview Blaze team around the age of 10. O’Hara says this has helped contribute to the team having a good chemistry.
“I’ve been playing with them since 10 years old and it’s been awesome,” O’Hara said. “I couldn’t ask for better guys to work with [and] to even go through this journey [with].”
They gained even more of a bond when Stanicek took over this past season and implemented an off season program. O’Hara was able to see a difference in the work ethic of the team. According to Tursi, the program gave the team the ability to fight back in games.
“Everyone is stronger, and I think when times get tough, we still are conditioned well enough to perform,” Tursi said.
The quality of South’s team is confirmed by the fact that six of the 13 seniors will continue to play in college. According to Stanicek, he has been trying to prepare them for college baseball since the season started in March.
“The practices have been geared to really reflect what a college practice is going to be like and to just get them to think about the game [in] a little more of a high level way,” Stanicek said.
Unlike many other South athletic teams, baseball doesn’t elect captains. According to Dillon, he feels that everyone on the team is key.
“We got so much talent in the field and so much talent on the bench just waiting for their opportunity,” Dillon said. “The people that aren’t playing are giving us a lot of effort and cheering us on and keeping us up.”