2013 Season Outlook
The baseball program is primed for a break-out season as they have been building success over the past few years and have a talented veteran squad ready to make a difference. Last year the Trolls finished 23-25 overall, posting the most wins in five seasons and breaking the school’s regular season win total. In addition they set team season records in runs, hits, RBIs, sacrifices, and pitching strikeouts. Coach Justin Huisman, in his third season, is confident the 2013 squad has the ability to not only continue the program’s success, but to surpass it.
Part of the formula for success comes in the mindset and attitude of the players and this year’s group brings the mental approach needed to rise to the top. “We have team that is heavy in upperclassman and they bring focus, maturity, and leadership,” said Huisman. “They are hungry and we will be an aggressive team that can cause harm in many ways offensively, while playing solid defense. More than that, our team is unified. Everything will be left on the field, making it a fun season to watch.”
The other part of the equation for positive results is talent and the Trolls are not short in that category as well. The roster holds 26 players of which 21 are upperclassmen. Of the 16 returning from last year, nine had starting experience a season ago. In addition, the eleven incoming players are not all rookies, with two seniors, five juniors and two sophomores among the group. With a wide range of pitchers returning to the staff, experienced infielders at almost every base, and starters back in the outfield, the team will have quality and depth.
“Our roster is deep as we have returned key players and plugged in holes left by graduating seniors,” commented Huisman. “Pitching will be a key to our success and our pitching staff is deep and ready to lead the ball club. We will not have to rely on untested talent with the combination of returners and transfers that we can field.”
The Trolls lost nine players, including five starters, from last season and will see some changes in their line-up. The biggest difference in position play will be in the infield that has three vacant spots. However the team will be able to fill those positions with veterans who provide the needed talent. Trinity will also have to replace some of their hitting power as three of their top hitters graduated. They do return their top two batters and have the ability to provide the power and strategy at the plate with the incoming talent.
The Trolls’ infield consists of a group that provides solid defense as well as important roles at the top and bottom of the batting order. Leading that group is four-year starter senior Ryan Kiesel (Streamwood, Illinois) at shortstop. Last year he earned all-conference honors and led the team with a .416 batting average with 47 hits and 42 runs. Over the summer he gained experience with the St. Cloud Rox in the Northwoods League and with the Niagara Power of the New York Collegiate Baseball League. The other returning starter is third baseman sophomore Peter Cupery (Holland, Michigan), who batted .317 in this rookie season.
Looking to fill starting roles in the infield are newcomers Peter Krygsheld (Lansing, Illinois) and Steven Brewer (Chicago, Illinois), who are capable of playing multiple infield positions. Junior Krygsheld is a transfer from Prairie State College, where played shortstop for the 2012 season and posted a .360 batting average and a .934 fielding average. Brewer, another junior transfer, had 41 hits and 30 runs for Moraine Valley Community College last season where he was their starting second baseman.
Handling the pitching staff behind the plate is senior catcher Chris Tidmore (Wilmington, Illinois), who had 12 starts in that position last year with a .985 fielding percentage as well as a .257 batting average. Adding depth to that position are sophomore transfers Josh Thomas (Bradenton, Florida) and Eric Slager (Dyer, Indiana) and returning sophomore Tyler Borgman (Lafayette, Indiana), who missed last season with an injury.
The outfield has a strong core of returning starters who not only provide stable fielding, but are an vital of the batting order. Leading that group and providing consistent play in the field and at the plate is senior Bill Miller (Chicago, Illinois), a four-year starter in left field. Last year he posted a .943 fielding percentage and batted third in the line-up with a .378 batting average with 59 hits, including five home runs, and 45 RBIs. Right field will rotate a number of players, who are a versatile group who occupied that position last year as well as can fill other areas on the field. Junior Danny Britt (Chicago, Illinois) is a utility player that was in the starting line-up last year in the outfield, as a designated hitter, or on the mound. Last season he finished with a .248 batting average and had 30 RBIs. Junior Mike Diebold (Streamwood, Illinois) also fills multiple roles as a right fielder, a first baseman, or on the mound. He will also factor into the batting order as he hit five home runs last season.
Joining the mix of outfielders will be newcomers Joseph Presutti (Maple, Ontario, Canada) and John Pikes (Justice, Illinois). Presutti, a junior transfer from Morton College adds to the depth of the right field possibilities as well as to the power at the plate, where he hit .342 with seven home runs last year at Morton. Pikes, a senior, has had a year of practice with the team, but in his first year of eligibility with the Trolls. He will take over the vacant center field position with his ability to cover a lot of ground. He will also create excitement on offense with his speed and ability to drive the ball.
In addition the Trolls have a number of additional players that will fill back-up roles and add to the team’s overall depth in the field positions. Senior Zach Thomas (Bradenton, Florida) can occupy first base or the outfield when not called on to pitch. Sophomores Max Zemaitis (Marne, Michigan), who served as a pinch runner last year, and Taylor Boice (Hudsonville, Michigan), who is also a member of the pitching staff, as well as freshman Vincent Flores (Lomita, California) look to contribute as well.
The pitching staff has a wide range of throwers who can step to the mound. With 15 pitchers available with varying degrees of experience, the depth of this quality group will be a key to the team’s success. The Trolls will look to three of their top returning starters from last season to lead them. Senior Dan Townsend (Tinley Park, Illinois) led the team in innings a year ago and with ten starts posted a .376 ERA with four wins, including a complete game victory over Olivet Nazarene University last year. Senior Rick Tilquist (New Lenox, Illinois) had eight starts in 2012 and logged a total of 50.1 innings. He finished with a .322 ERA and a 5-2 record. Danny Britt had five starts in nine appearances last year with a 4-2 record a 2.88 ERA.
That group of proven veterans will be joined by in the starting rotation by another collection of experience players. Returning is junior Vince Van Schouwen (South Holland, Illinois), who made six starts last year and logged a total of 41.2 innings, and senior Zach Thomas, who is in his second year with the Trolls and healthy this season. Junior Brett Huisman (Elgin, Illinois) sat out last season due to injury, but posted an impressive 2.76 ERA two seasons ago. Junior Drew Chibe (Palos Park, Illinois), who has been a part of the program for a year, but is in his first season on the roster, brings previous experience at the junior college level.
The pitching staff is enhanced by a group that will provide necessary minutes as well as increase depth. The returning relievers are Mike Diebold, who has five career saves, senior Josh Sellers (Morton, Illinois), junior Nate Tameling (Burr Ridge, Illinois), junior Benny Collesano (Homer Glen, Illinois), Peter Cupery, and Taylor Boice. Adding to that group are newcomers Joseph Presutti and Mark Guthrie (Tinley Park, Illinois).
The Trolls’ schedule consists of 51 games of which 30 are part of the conference schedule. They open on February 21 at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana and then will make trips to Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee and the University of Northwestern Ohio in Lima, Ohio on the following two weekends. Trinity will return to the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational for eight games during spring break. Upon return, they begin their conference schedule. As a part of the CCAC South Division, Trinity will meet every team in its division in a three-game series and play the North Division teams in a double-header. With eyes on a conference title, the Trolls will have to contend with the University of St. Francis and Judson University, the preseason favorites, along with other perennial CCAC powerhouses. The CCAC competition starts on March 15 and concludes with the conference tournament which begins on April 30.