Baseball: Future bright for Evergreen Park
Evergreen Park baseball coach Mark Smyth is excited about the future of his program.
As well he should be.
Juniors Mike Rueter (.381), Kyle VenHuizen (.434) and Dan Duh (.400) are the Mustangs’ 3-4-5 hitters, and two freshmen, shortstop Mark Martin and catcher Mike Rizzo, have performed beyond their years.
Martin hasn’t made an error in eight conference games and Rizzo has settled in behind the dish and shown an eagerness to learn.
Martin is second on the team in hits and batting average and third in runs.
“Mark has loads of talent and has adjusted to varsity ball far faster than anticipated,” Smyth said. “Rizzo has done a nice job defensively. He’s learning every day and has a good energy about him.”
While the underclassmen have been major producers, the Mustangs’ senior class has contributed, primarily on the mound.
Pitchers Jesse McClain, Ben Modesitt and Chance Emlund are the team’s top three starters. Trevor Mlot has done a fine job out of the bullpen and Jon Hobbs has admirably filled in as a spot starter.
Seniors Bob McAvoy and Tom Martin have contributed offensively.
The Mustangs hope to win the program’s first regional title.
First things first, however. The Mustangs took an 8-12 record into their Tuesday game with Argo, kicking off a stretch of five games in five days.
“We have a big week,” Smyth said. “We’re really going to focus where can get to .500 and get some momentum going.”
Setting the record straight
Mount Carmel coach Brian Hurry cleared up what some were questioning: A 22-0 Caravan record despite an apparent loss to Florida’s P.K. Yonge High School on April 5.
“I explained to their coach that the only way we could play them was if it was a JV game,” Hurry said. “He agreed. I told the umpires before the game that it was a JV game. I didn’t play my regular lineup. We didn’t exchange lineup cards and there was free substitution.”
Hurry was hesitant to schedule P.K. Yonge at all, knowing the Caravan had a game later that day against Gordon Tech. But he figured he could squeeze a JV game in and reward his reserves with some playing time.
It’s becoming common for varsity teams to schedule two games in one day, with one being a JV game. The IHSA allows 35 varsity games during the season.