Chesterton Tribune



Trojan Baseball opens tonight at Gavit

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Strike one.

That may well be the most important phrase of the season as the Chesterton baseball team opens the 2017 season tonight at Hammond Gavit.

“We’ve got high expectations coming into the year and they should be,” Chesterton head coach Jack Campbell said. “We’ve got two kids that have verbally committed to Purdue as pitchers (Austin Peterson, Grant Brunt). It’s not just those two though. We’ve got four or five guys that we feel can handle the ball on the mound if they throw strikes.

“That’s the big thing.”

Peterson leads the pitching staff after a 7-0 season last year in Duneland Athletic Conference play and a pair of victories over Andrean.

“Pete had a great year last year,” Campbell said. “He was really good at getting strike one last year. Everything works off of that.”

Brunt spent most of the season as the Trojans third or fourth starter, but caught fire at the end of the season.

“Grant was just coming on like crazy and then really got it going in the Sectional,” Campbell said.

Campbell sports a nine-man pitching staff heading into the season with Chris Torres, Drew Vesling, Steve Gilbertson, Brayden Cortwright, Logan Lawson, Owen Hallas and Chris Boren.

“Brayden is a 6’7” lefthander that’s really thrown well so far in the preseason and Torres is 6’3”,” Campbell said. “It’s like having a basketball team out there. We’ve done a lot of live pitching this preseason, probably more than we’ve ever done before.

“I wouldn’t question myself in putting any one of them out there in any situation.”

Defensively, the Trojans return the core of last year’s team that beat Valparaiso and Andrean en route to a Sectional title.

“We feel really good about our defense and the depth we have there too,” Campbell said. “Ethan Conway is back at third and Chris Boren got some time last year at shortstop. Tommy Benson moved in and he’s really good. At second, Logan Lawson and Grant (Brunt) are there and Colin Buchan is a solid infielder.

“Anthony Kurek can play first base when Austin (Peterson) pitches.”

Behind the plate, junior Brett Roeske returns.

“Having Brett back after getting time behind the plate as a sophomore last year is big,” Campbell said. “Senior Jake Harmon is there for us too.”

In the outfield, the Trojans return Vesling, Eric Ralph and Owen Hallas, while Kurek will also see time out there.

“We’ve got four guys back in Vesling, Ralph, Hallas and Kurek that played a lot for us last year,” Campbell said. “Steve Gilbertsen and Patrick Sosby give us depth in the outfield too.”

Offensively, Peterson is the team’s top returning hitter with Kurek right there with him.

“We’ve got some kids that can run,” Campbell said. “Pete was our leading hitter last year and Kurek was second. We’ve got a lot of guys who can put the ball in play with some power. Ethan Conway hit the ball well for us last year.”

The Trojans open DAC play on Tuesday when they travel to Lake Central before hosting the Indians on Wednesday.

“Good pitching beats good hitting and, in our conference, there are a lot of good pitchers,” Campbell said. “I would think opening up with LC this early in the year, it’s probably going to be a one run ball game. Both teams are going to put really good pitchers out there. It’ll come down to the little things.”


Posted 4/3/2017




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