Baseball: Pitching depth gives Waubonsie chance for late surgeWaubonsie Valley's Ryan Vasicek throws a pitch during the first inning of his shutout effort against Elgin on Friday, April 13, 2012, in Aurora. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
As Waubonsie Valley prepares to make its seemingly annual late-season charge, the Warriors may be one of the better equipped teams around to make that surge.
In a season that has been defined by lower offensive numbers — due mostly to the new BBCOR bats that have sapped offensive production — Waubonsie has the arms that could make the difference in low-scoring games.
Mitch Stefani and James Palasz came into the season as known commodities. Troy Fumagalli was coming back off an arm injury, so he may not have been a known commodity outside of the Warriors’ program, but they knew what they had on their hands.
Ryan Vasicek’s one-hit shutout of Elgin Friday gives the Warriors even more strength. The rubber-armed Vasicek has been in the bullpen most of the season, has the ability to bounce back from relief outings early in the week and showed Friday he can make a start later in the week without the team missing a beat.
“My arm always feels pretty good after starts, so I’ll be ready to go back to the bullpen Monday,” Vasicek said Friday. “If I get a start later next week, that would be great.”
At 5-8, Waubonsie has yet to get on a roll, but the Warriors have shown a penchant for late-season surges before and they have the arms to do it again.
Hard luck for Roehn
With the low-scoring games across the board so far this season, several aces have had trouble getting on the winning side of the ledger.
Count Sandwich ace Jake Roehn among them. He fell to 2-4 on the season with Monday’s 4-3 loss to rival Plano, but he has pitched much better than his record. In the loss Monday, Roehn struck out 11 and walked one, allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits.
“We knew what we were up against,” Plano coach Bryan Phillips said. “Early in the season, we knew he was a mid-80s, upper-80s guy. He’s going to get his strikeouts, so you have to get after him.”
Sandwich coach Jason Van Pelt couldn’t be happier with what he’s seen of Roehn so far this season.
“He’s been lights out his last four outings,” Van Pelt said. “His record doesn’t quite show it. He’s pitched outstanding. Anytime you get a pitching performance like (Monday), you expect to get a win, but it doesn’t always work out that way.”
Will Holtz return?
Major League teams who are in contention look toward the trading deadline of July 31 every summer to see if they will be receiving reinforcements.
Of course, nothing like that exists at the high school level, but Aurora Christian may receive the equivalent of a deadline deal in the next couple of weeks in the form of senior star Mitch Holtz’s return from a knee injury suffered during football season.
Holtz is hoping to get clearance to get back on the field in early May, and if he can contribute by the time the playoffs come both on the mound and at the plate, the Eagles will be even more formidable than they already are.