Goss: Plenty of players to watch at WJOL Area Baseball Invite
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org March 27, 2013 10:56PM
Joliet West's Quinn Ahern (left) and Joliet Catholic's Chris Tschida. | File photo
Updated: April 29, 2013 10:48AM
The weather forecast gets better as the week goes on. Yes!
Not only will you be comfortable as you watch the WJOL Area Baseball Invite, you are in for quality baseball. Remember, games begin at noon Thursday at Joliet Junior College and Providence and will continue Saturday morning at Lockport and Providence and Saturday afternoon and night at Silver Cross Field.
As we noted in the story in Wednesday’s Herald-News, anyone can win it. The reason is there are so many quality position players and pitchers spread throughout the immediate area.
I’ll throw out some names you may want to keep an eye on. No attempt to name all the good ones, of course.
Position players: Ted Snidanko (Lockport), Derek Bangert (Lockport), Chris Tschida (Joliet Catholic), Alex Voitik (Joliet Catholic), Ryan Peter (Joliet Catholic), John McNulty (Plainfield South), Zack Thomas (Joliet West), Anthony DiNardo (Joliet West), defending tournament MVP Joe Carnagio (Minooka), Max Brozovich (Minooka), DylanRosa (Providence).
Pitchers: Jake Herron (Joliet West), Quinn Ahern (Joliet West), Yianni Pavlopoulos (Providence), Jake Godfrey (Providence), Evan Martens (Lockport), Matt Testa (Joliet Catholic), Cal Placher (Joliet Catholic), Sam Couch (Joliet Catholic), Tomas Aguilar (Plainfield Central), Trevor Henderson (Plainfield South), Mitch Vogrin (Minooka), Josh Mitchell (Minooka).
When I talked with WJOL’s Scott Slocum, who runs the tournament along with Joliet Township district director of activities and athletics Chris Olson, Joliet Central athletic director Steve Locke and the Steelmen staff and coaches, he said:
“The upper bracket is loaded with Minooka, Providence and Joliet Catholic. But somebody from the bottom easily could win it.
“The reason I think this is such a good tournament is these kids really are friends. They grew up playing together with Victory Baseball or the Sparks or some other program in the area. They want the bragging rights.”
See you at the ballpark.
You may be wondering where our local minor leaguers will begin the season, including some who played in the WJOL Tournament not long ago.
Outfielder Joe Benson (Joliet Catholic), rebounding after an injury-plagued 2012 season, hit .151 in spring training with the Twins and was optioned to Triple-A Rochester. He entered the spring in competition with Aaron Hicks and Darin Mastroianni for the starting center field job in Minnesota, and both had strong springs.
“We think highly of (Benson), but now it’s time for him to get some regular playing time,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan was quoted on mlb.com.
Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani (Lincoln-Way Central) will begin at Triple-A Louisville, where his manager will be Jim Riggleman. Cingrani, a 6-foot-4 left-hander with a killer pickoff move, made his major league debut in September and worked in three Cactus League games with the parent Reds but has yet to pitch in Triple A.
Right-hander Ethan Hollingsworth (Plainfield South), who is listed on roster of the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, was selected by Pittsburgh from Kansas City in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft this offseason.
Right-hander Tanner Roark (Wilmington) was in the starting rotation last season at Syracuse, Washington’s Triple-A affiliate, and should begin this season in that same role.
Below the Triple-A level ...
Outfielder Ken Williams Jr. (Plainfield Central) likely will be at Double-A Tulsa, a Colorado affiliate, after the Sox traded him for Mark Tracy, son of former manager Jim Tracy. Second baseman Dean Anna (Lincoln-Way East) was with the Padres’ Double-A team at San Antonio last season and may be again.
Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (Minooka), after being named Houston’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year, hopes to begin at Double-A Corpus Christi rather than A-Advanced Lancaster, where the park is a pitcher’s nightmare.
Right-handed reliever Ryan Quigley (Joliet Catholic) was with the Padres’ A-Advanced affiliate at Lake Elsinore last season. Outfielder John Ruettiger (Joliet Catholic) was on Class A levels most of last season but did have a stint with Baltimore’s Double-A team at Bowie.
Catcher Mike Pericht (Providence) and pitchers Brian Stroud (Providence) and Dietrich Enns (Lincoln-Way East) were in Class A last season. Pericht is with the Dodgers organization, Stroud the Tigers and Enns the Yankees.
Senior guard Seth Evans (Seneca) is flying high at Florida Southern (27-5), which faces Western Washington (30-2) at 5 p.m. Thursday in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. He scored 31 points in a 90-88 victory over Alabama-Huntsville in the regional final, hitting 9-of-18 shots, 8-of-16 threes and 5-of-5 free throws.
Evans averages 32.8 minutes, 16.8 points, 3.4 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals. He is shooting .429 from the floor, .425 on threes and .886 on free throws.
North Central (28-4) reached the NCAA Division III national semifinals before falling to Amherst 52-44 despite 20 points from junior forward Landon Gamble (Lockport). Gamble averaged 24.3 minutes, 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting .579 from the field and .665 from the line.
Sophomore forward Jack Burchett (Providence) also contributed for the Cardinals, averaging 15.3 minutes, 5.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists while shooting .585.
Karrington Ward (Lockport), who has signed with Eastern Michigan, led Moraine Valley to a runner-up finish in the NJCAA Division II national tournament. He was the No. 2 scorer in the nation at 21.7 points per game and No. 6 rebounder at 10.0. He averaged 1.4 assists, 1.5 steals and shot .495 from the floor, .343 from three and .744 from the free-throw line.
Kyle Ward (Lockport), Karrington’s brother, averaged 7.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists as a freshman for the Cyclones.