Jeff Chiles 23 May 1997
produces a record-breaking season at Jacobs By DAVID OBERHELMAN Daily Herald Correspondent BASEBALL / AREA NOTES Jacobs shortstop Mark Rezendes Rezendes has had an outstanding year for the Golden Eagles. Earlier this season, he broke Brad Hinkle's two-year-old school record for hits'in a career at 76. He now has 96. And in Monday night's 4-3 win over Lake Zurich, Rezendes, who will play at McHenry County College, College, took another of Hinkle's records records when his single to right- center established a new single- season hits record with 38. After Monday, Rezendes was hitting .500 on the nose (38-76), and his 21 runs were one away from another school record. . He had driven in 14 runs, had hit 6 doubles and a triple, and had struck out just twice in 86 total trips to the plate. His on base percentage was a brilliant .557. "He's going so good that we're all wanting to look like him," said Jacobs coach Bob Sharp. "So we're all growing beards. We want to be like Mark." • • • Bust or boom: Sharp said that the bottom of the seventh inning Monday "was the weirdest inning I ever saw." Tied 3-3 with Lake Zurich, Jacobs led off with a walk. That was followed by a single. Rezendes Rezendes then hit his record-breaking single, but Sharp held the runner at third to keep the bases loaded \vith no outs. It didn't work. The next three batters struck out. But Jacobs won the in the bottom bottom of the eighth on Scott Johnson's Johnson's single to drive in Chad Green for what Sharp called the season's "most exciting win." i • • • Big fish to fry: Burlington Central took only its third loss of the season Monday, 5-3 against X • Larkin, in a non-conference affair prior to the Rockets' run in the Class A state playoffs. "It was a good tuneup prior to the regional for us," said Burlington Burlington coach Doug Ellett, noting that the Rockets made no errors and turned two double plays/ "We would have liked to have won, but like I told the kids, we've got bigger bigger fish to fry." The Rockets entered the Driscoll Driscoll regional the No. 2 seed behind the host Highlanders, 257. 257. Eric Goff (7-0) to pitched ^Burlington to an 11-5 first-round victory Tuesday over Wheaton Academy. • • • Quote of the week: Rockets pitchers have continued their pinpoint pinpoint control, allowing just 62 bases on balls in 28 games, a low 2.2 average. Ellett said, "We've done a great job throwing strikes all year. If we can play defense behind that, we're going to be awful tough to beat from here on out." • • • They're No.1: Burlington Central's Central's 19-1 record in the Big Northern conference earned them the title, ahead of 15-4-1 Byron and 13-7 Richmond-Burton, Richmond-Burton, each of whom the Rockets defeated twice. "I'm real happy with the way the regular season went," Ellett said. "To be 24-and-3 with three seniors playing most of the time and one pitching off and on, it's a pretty good accomplishment for the kids. When you win nine ball- games with two runs or less, you feel pretty satisfied." -• • • The U-high connection: Elgin'Academy was unsuccessful in defending its 1996 Independent School League baseball title, fin- ishing second to University High with an 8-4 conference record. The Hilltoppers were swept, in the two-game series, losing 6-4 and 3-1. "It's their turn," Elgin Academy coach Ron Szumilas said. EA beat out the U-high Maroons for the ISL basketball championship this past season, continuing what has become a nice rivalry. "There's no grudge," Szumilas said. "We beat them out for the basket ball championship and maybe that was a little motivation for them, and they came back and beat us in baseball. Their new coach (Jack Taylor) has done a good job." Taylor, formerly the Maroons junior .varsity baseball coach, switched places with John Wilson, Wilson, the varsity basketball coach. "They've got the athletes, it was just a matter of harnessing the talent that they have," Szumilas said, "and Jack's done a good job. He keeps them focused, and he's developed some decent talent there. "He's got them all going on eight cylinders this year," Szumi- las said. "And that's not good for us, but it's good for their program." program." - • • • Quote of the week II: After using top pitchers Alex Roberti and David Timmons in Saturday's doubleheader sweep of the Latin School, Szumilas was unsure who would get the nod against St. Edward, Edward, in the opener of the Class A Driscoll regional. The Green Wave's best starters, Brian Wade and Peter Aydt, were both rested. Szumilas felt a little overmatched overmatched on the mound: "But maybe if we played tee-ball and put our eight best players out in the field we could hold our own." *• • ™ Short-armed: Szumilas continued continued explaining the pitching woes, which increased when Jeff Imming felt some tenderness in his throwing elbow. "One of these days we're going to develop a program where we have sufficient bodies and sufficient sufficient depth, to where we can .play a doubleheader on Saturday and have a pitcher who can go on Tuesday. But we're not there right now." • • • Quote of the week III: Dan Koessl was confident entering the playoffs, feeling that the Green Wave played evenly with Suburban Catholic co-leaders Montini and . regional host Driscoll. "With our strength of schedule, we'll go up against anybody in this regional and let the cards fall where they may," he said: .-.•••"• Bulletin board material: Though he admitted "we've got a. lot of hills to climb" before it, could happen, Koessl has a dream. "Our major team .goal — and not to look past anybody — is I'd love to give Driscoll the chance to beat us a fourth time." • • •' Future plans: Streamwood first baseman Steve Lamberti, also an all-Upstate Eight basketball basketball forward for the Sabres, has decided to attend Augustana College College in Rock Island. The 6-foot-5 Lamberti will be playing basketball for Augustana, but is not anticipating playing baseball, according to Streamwood Streamwood baseball coach Jim Juliano. Both parties are pleased with the decision. "What they have to offer fits real well for him right now," , Juliano said. "They know what type of player he is, it's a small school, and they just seem real excited and happy that he decided decided to go there." Juliano's daughter, Kristin, also will be headed to Augustana this fall. The coach said that both she and Lamberti plan on a degree in education. • • • Final four: Four games this week afforded Crystal Lake South to brush up on its defense, the Gators' stumbling block according according to coach Chuck Ahsmann. The Gators played Woodstock and McHenry during the week before ending with Crystal Lake Central Friday and a single game with Dundee-Crown Saturday. Hitting has been no problem for South. The Gators have hit 25 home runs, led by Rafi Bombino's 7, followed by Brent Meservy, Nate Steele and Matt St. John with 4 apiece and Jeff Chiles with 3. St. John, who returned to action /Monday after being out two weeks- with a pulled hamstring, led the Gators with a .408 batting average. Bombino was second at .386 with a team-high 24 runs bat- 'tedin. Center fielder Justin Cnpe has 20 stolen bases this season. Added to the 17 stolen bases he had last year as a junior, he's already broken the school record of.33 set in 1995 by Jessup French. But again, defense needs to improve improve if the Gators want to survive survive in the Woodstock regional. ' "We're trying to take each game as preparation for that," Ahsmann said. "And going into the regional we feel we have a strong hitting team, so if we play good defense' anything can happen. We've been hitting, the ball consistently all year, but we've been inconsistent defensively. "We can play with anybody if we play well on the defensive side," Ahsmann said. • • ? ' Well-rounded: Entering this week's play, Jeff Chiles had accumulated accumulated a won-loss record of 6-4, 5-2 in the Fox Valley after beating Jacobs 10-6 a week ago Friday. While Ahsmann said that the left-handed Chiles hasn't been as sharp on the mound as he was last season as a junior, his overall game has been "just unbelievable." unbelievable." Chiles, an all-conference quarterback quarterback as well, concentrated solely on pitching the past couple years, but had a goal this season of being the Gators' regular right fielder. He's done that and hit with power. And he's still fared pretty well on the mound. Chiles has 87 strikeouts in 69 innings pitched. • • • Making the grade:-Rick Popilek said that he had two goals when he first came to Dundee-Crown High School: make the National Honor Society and become an all-conference athlete. With a 5.57 grade point average on a 6-point scale, he achieved his first goal. It would appear that his performance on the mound for the Chargers this season — 62-1, 62-1, 3.30 earned run average — will earn him the second. "I don't think I've seen anybody in the league that is consistently better than Rick," D-C coach Fred Bencriscutto said. He noted that he hasn't seen all of the Fox Valley's top pitchers, but rated Popilek among the top two or three that he has seen. In the past, Bencriscutto has said that when the right-handed senior is pitching, his team can compete with anybody. He's right: When Popilek has pitched, the Chargers are 6-2-1; when he doesn't, they are 2-14. "When he pitches, everything seems to go a lot smoother for us," Bencriscutto said.