Baseball: Bolingbrook turns a cornerBolingbrook's Steve Waldrop. | File photo
Bolingbrook is known for its girls basketball prowess and for winning the Class 8A state football championship in the fall.
In baseball, it’s been a perennial pushover.
That, however, could change this season.
The Raiders are 11-8 overall and 2-3 in the SouthWest Suburban Blue play with less than a month left in the regular season. Bolingbrook went 14-12-1 in 1992, its lone winning season.
“The biggest difference is I have had a core group of guys (eight since they were freshmen and sophomores) who have played at the varsity level and have bought into our philosophy,” Bolingbrook coach Chris Malinowski said. “They also understand what it takes to compete at the varsity level.”
Another shot of confidence came from some football players who have infused a winning attitude into the program.
“The biggest difference has been the addition of athletes from other programs,” said Malinowski, who is in his eighth season. “The football players who play bring a needed intensity, especially after winning state (in the fall).”
Leading the charge are junior pitcher/catcher Scott Foltz, senior utility player Tevin Brown, junior pitcher/infielder Brad Elmore, senior pitcher Jake Kolakowski and senior pitcher/infielder Steve Waldrop.
Foltz leads the team with a .429 average, 24 hits and 16 RBI. Brown is batting .365 and has scored a team-high 17 runs.
Elmore has been a horse for the pitching staff, going 3-2 with a 1.81 ERA in 31 innings. He has fanned 41 and walked just five. Kolakowski is 2-0 with a save and a 2.45 ERA. Waldrop is 3-2 with a 2.85 ERA in 27 innings.
“We need to stay aggressive at the plate, on the bases and on the mound,” said Malinowski, the longest-tenured baseball coach in school history. “Our kids need to trust in their abilities and not get caught up in who they are playing against and the history they are trying to change.”
Bolingbrook won nine of 10 games earlier this year, but has hit a bump in the road after losing three of its last four contests in the rugged SWSC. The Raiders ended a home-and-home conference series Wednesday with Lincoln-Way Central in New Lenox.
Making their ‘Mark’
The Lockport Baseball Booster Club, in conjunction with the school’s athletic department, presented a check for $3,509 to the Make Your Mark Foundation.
The foundation was formed in memory of Mark Staehely, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare pediatric cancer in 2000. He died in March 2006 at age 18.
The five games between Minooka and Lockport raised money for the foundation, which uses funds to help support the research of pediatric cancer and families affected by it.