Baseball: Libertyville bidding farewell to crop of seniors
PJ Neumann and the Wildcats begin regional action on Thursday when they take on Prospect at Palatine. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 23, 2012 1:46AM
Libertyville will really miss its 2012 senior class next season, but a very strong class will take its place.
The Wildcats’ current juniors have, at times, been underutilized — due to talented seniors Kevin McQuillen, Nick Coutre, Anthony Mack, Kyle Cibrario and Darwin Townsend being on board — but they’ll have their time next season.
“We’ve got a real strong junior class,” said assistant coach Tom Carlucci. “It’s been somewhat of a struggle to get all those guys to play for us this year because we’ve got some seniors that have stepped up and have done a really nice job. The playing time hasn’t been there for some of these guys that are going to play for us next year, but all in all, they’re a good class.”
Players like Evan Skoug, Justin Guarnaccio and Matt Vogt have caught the eyes of the coaches. The talent is there, according to Carlucci, but there’s also a bond that has been created through years of playing together that could guide them to a successful senior season.
“We’ve been playing together probably since we were 8 years old,” said junior pitcher Michael Rogers. “We’ve pretty much been on the same team, and we’re all really great friends. A lot of us hang out on the weekends, and we’re really close. We’re really supportive of each other.”
Rogers — along with Nick Carlucci, Connor Clark and Matt Varner — have even been playing basketball with each other since freshman year.
Recap: Following a three-game winning streak, during which the Wildcats (22-11, 11-5 NSC) outscored their opponents 33-7, Libertyville was defeated by Glenbrook North 11-4 on Saturday.
“We came out flat, but we battled,” Carlucci said. “We made a game of it for a few innings. Mentally, we weren’t in it for the last couple innings, but all in all, it was OK.”
The Wildcats fell behind early, allowing two runs to score in the first inning, and four more in the second.
Libertyville had its chances, putting its first two hitters on base in the second and fourth innings, but wasn’t able to capitalize.
Senior left fielder Michael Coutre brought in the first two runs for the Wildcats with a bloop single in the fourth.
The fifth inning also looked promising with a bases-loaded situation, but after a Skoug single and a Darwin Townsend walk, the scoring was brought to a halt with three straight outs.
In a losing effort, junior starting pitcher Michael Rogers threw just two innings and gave up six runs on nine hits and a walk.
“I felt good going into the game, but they’re a great hitting team,” Rogers said. “My curveball was really flat and I was missing some of my spots, and they capitalized on that.”
Junior catcher Skoug and shortstop Mack both went 2-for-4, combining for half of their team’s hits.
On Monday, Libertyville bounced back with a 6-5 win over Nazareth. Mack led the offense with three hits. Skoug drew four walks.
The will face Prospect in a regional semifinal today (4:30 p.m.).
“We’re in good shape,” Carlucci said. “We’ve got to shore up our defense. Our pitching is going to be there, and I think we’re ready.”