Pitching, pop powering McHenry baseball again
The McHenry High School baseball team had high expectations coming into this season.
So far, so good.
Through April 19, the Warriors were 11-3 record and ranked No. 17 in the "Illinois Power 25" poll on PrepBaseballReport.com.
“We had a very successful summer, and with the success of the summer, the offseason work that these guys put in and the talent level of all 20 or our guys, we feel we can contend for a conference and regional title,” head coach Brian Rockweiler told the McHenry Times in an email.
A big strength for the squad in the first part of the season has been pitching. Rockweiler said the Warriors boasted an earned run average of 0.737 in their first 57 innings, allowing just six earned runs.
“We have a lot of our top pitchers back from last year, including Bobby Miller, a four-year varsity starter who is committed to Louisville, and Michael Lasiewicz, a three-year starter and a Northern Illinois commit,” Rockweiler said.
One of the biggest challenges for McHenry will come from its own conference. Fox Valley rival Crystal Lake South was No. 10 in the Power 25 poll, while Cary-Grove was No. 16. Through April 20, the Warriors had lost twice to Crystal Lake South and once to Cary-Grove -- all by a total of seven runs.
“We have a long way to go still in the regular season, and I believe we play in one of the best conferences, if not the best, in the state of Illinois," Rockweiler said. "This will only make us better."
Another challenge will be pushing through in the postseason. According to IHSA.org, McHenry has been to at least the regional final each of the last two seasons, with a berth in the sectional semifinals in 2015. Prior to that, the program went to the regional semis three times and the final twice from 2010 to 2014.
The offense will be a key for the stretch run, Rockweiler said.
“We need to improve on our hitting from top to bottom in our lineup," he said. "With weather getting better, I definitely feel our hitting will improve."
Indeed, in McHenry's five-game winning streak from April 13 to 18, the Warriors scored 34 runs, including twice notching 10 runs in one game.
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