Pitching shines but bats struggle in 2-1 loss to Prospect

hot starts from Kost and Jodloman can't overcome offensive injuries

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Pitching shines but bats struggle in 2-1 loss to Prospect

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New Trier baseball fell to Prospect on Apr. 13 by a score of 2-1, as offensive struggles couldn’t support a one-run performance from starting pitcher Patrick Jodloman.

The Trevians’ senior shined, but too many necessary bats have suffered untimely injuries, preventing a satisfactory start to the season. They currently sit at 7-6, with much room to improve.

“We squandered a gem by Jodloman on the bump,” said senior Jonathan Rissman.”Offensively and defensively, we have to be more sound and make sure we don’t waste these performances.”

The defense in the field has also seen its ups and downs, featuring games with four and six errors committed.

“Currently we are facing injuries to key players (catcher Alex Calarco, pitcher Pete Burnside, and first baseman Duke Olges) that should provide us with a big boost on all aspects of the game when they return,” said senior Andrew Kost.

Kost has been part of New Trier’s red-hot pitching staff, which is the reason they have earned a winning record to this point, but he still feels that his repertoire can diversify by the time the season ends.

“I haven’t pitched a game where I have all four of my pitches working,” explained Kost, who likes to feature a fastball, changeup, slider, and curveball, “and I think as the year progresses I will only feel more comfortable throwing all my pitches for strikes with more velocity.”

Southpaw (left-handed) junior pitcher Jack Liepert has also starred, completing both a one-run game against Buffalo Grove on April 5 a formidable trio with Jodloman and Kost. They hope to hold down the for until Burnside returns.

Junior Drew Robinson, senior Donald Stricklin, junior Eddie Harvey, and senior Henry Pelinski have helped pick up the slack on offense as of late. Harvey blasted a three-run homer in a win over Highland Park, and Pelinski picked up five hits in two games against Fremd and Buffalo Grove.

“I always hold myself to a high standard and I’ve had some great games where I hit doubles,” said Pelinski. “I’ve also had some bad games this year and that’s what motivates me to keep working hard.”

New Trier has gone 2-2 in their last four, mostly with Calarco and Olges sidelined. They defeated Highland Park and Ridgewood by a combined score of 20-6, but they drove in a combined three runs in their other two against Maine West and Prospect.

One game from earlier this month remains in the back of the Trevs’ minds, however, and that was a loss to Loyola on Apr. 3. New Trier held a lead until the final inning on the back of a strong outing from Kost, who struck out eight, but they ended up falling 5-3.

“We had it in the bag until the last inning, but the baseball gods tossed it the other way that day. Kost threw a gem, but it just didn’t pan out for us,” said senior Joe Fox.

“There is no denying that the crosstown matchup brings out the best in both teams,” said Kost. “Unfortunately, we came out on the losing side of a well-played game.”

When New Trier starts to get players back from injury, they believe they’re capable of making a postseason run. They went quietly last season, with a 7-3 loss to Lane Tech in the regional final, but the team thinks it’s talented enough to make noise in late May.

“I honestly think that we’re going to be a team that high seeds won’t want to play. Our pitching is solid and our small ball is getting better every day. Timely hitting, good pitching, and solid defense win games in the playoffs,” said Fox.

Rissman echoed that sentiment, using the same phrase Fox used to describe their outlook.
“We all know the next guy up will be able to do is job and put us in a situation where we can succeed,” he said. “With a little more time, we’ll be a team no one wants to face in the postseason.”

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