Baseball bounces back for playoff run

After rough 2022, baseball has advanced to regional finals after 23-7 season



Following 5-0 win against GBN, Trevians celebrate Napoleon’s 951st victory, the Illinois high school coaching state record

For a two time Illinois baseball state champion program, nobody could have predicted the 2022 season to go so poorly. The Trevs got off to a bad start and never recovered, but this year’s team catapulted to a 24-7 record, enough to be ranked 6th in PrepBaseball’s Illinois High School Baseball rankings ahead of the postseason, starting this week.

Players and fans have been amazed this year, starting with senior pitcher Trevor Byrnes.

“Last year, we didn’t have as great of leadership, and not everybody was in on playing winning baseball if it meant sacrificing their own success. I think this year everybody has bought into that more, which is why we’ve been winning.” said Byrnes.

It hasn’t just been hitting home runs and lights out pitching. This years team shows more of a desire to win, and for the entire coaching staff, especially first base coach Pete Drevline, it’s a huge step forward.

“It’s a little motivation,” said Drevline, “That was unique for the program to have the record we had last year, so this year we’ve really committed to the things that are not in the box score. Little things like purely hustle, accountability, and being a good teammate. Those things don’t show up when you go 3-3, they show up when you win ball games.”

It is little things like these that New Trier has made their mark on for years, winning two state championships in the 21st century, led by head coach and IHSA’s all time baseball wins leader, Mike Napoleon. Napoleon captured win #951 on April 27th against conference foe Glenbrook North in a 5-0 victory. 

“You don’t think about it when you start coaching, you just coach. 37 years later, here we are. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay coaching, whereas many coaches step away once they start families.” said Napoleon. 

The stability within the program is something not seen very often, as Naps partakes in his 27th season as head coach at New Trier, along with assistant coaches Drevline and Scott Kilpowicz’s 21st years together as assistant coaches. 

“I just kind of let them go, between Klip’s guidance with the pitchers and Drev’s help with hitting and the outfielders, it takes a lot of things off my plate, and really helps all of us.” said Napoleon. 

Aside from a historically great coach in Naps, coach Drevline also points out how instrumental captains Graham Mastros and Brendan Stressler have been in this year’s impressive turnaround. Both Mastros and Stressler are committed to play collegiate baseball at Saint Louis University next spring. 

“One of the fun things about coaching is seeing young men develop. Because when we had those guys as sophomores there were a lot of growing pains but they’ve come to fruition as seniors… For them to be leaders means a lot to our program.” said Drevline. 

This leadership has played a crucial part in elevating the Trevians back to their typical successes.

“Graham was super instrumental this offseason with his leadership. Calling out guys when they should be at lifts or practices, when people can sit back for the offseason, he helped elevate everyone’s game.” said Napoleon.

It is work like this that New Trier has made on their mark on in previous years, and something that has them poised to make a deep postseason run. For the Trevians, the road ends in Joliet, Illinois, home of the state championship.

It’s a matter of the pieces falling in the right places for the team, facing off against Mt. Prospect High School on Saturday for the regional championship. Shortstop James Novakovic knows this team has a chance to win the state title.

“We talk about it a lot, just going back to Joliet in a position to win a state championship. It would mean so much to everyone with how hard we’ve worked, and to keep this decorated program going.” said Novakovic.