Scott Luken has pitching options at Yorkville, and the timing couldn’t be better.
When the Foxes and every other baseball team in Illinois take the field this spring, in one key respect it will be a whole new ballgame.
The IHSA in December approved new pitch count guidelines to protect young pitchers’ arms.
A pitcher will be limited to 105 pitches per game. Other rules require specific days of rest between outings.
It’s a good spring for Yorkville to bring back six pitchers who logged 121 innings last year for a team that went 21-14-1.
Out of the 22 players on the Foxes’ roster, three have pitching experience. Even better, there’s a deep group of lefthanders.
“It certainly behooves you to develop your pitching depth,” Luken said of the new rules. “I think the strength of our team will be our pitching staff.”
Senior Michael Wojcik, committed to Millikin, and a handful of juniors will be toeing the rubber for Yorkville, which starts its season Saturday at home against Joliet West. Stephen Sewruk, Ty Liaromatis and Jon Jungr are also in the mix. So is senior lefty Ben Garbelman, who did not play baseball last spring.
“I like how he is progressed,” Luken said of Garbelman. “He’s brought a mature attitude with his work ethic.”
The Foxes return six starters, led by third-year varsity players Lucas Farren at second base and Max Warren behind the plate.
Warren, committed to Lewis, split time between catcher and outfield last year, but Yorkville’s other catcher moved.
Farren played in the outfield as a sophomore, then was plugged in at second base last year. Committed to Central College in Iowa, Farren will bat leadoff or hit second.
Anchoring Yorkville’s lineup will be senior Brendon Reifsteck, who led the Northern Illinois Big 12 East in batting average (.467) and on-base percentage (.610) last year.
Reifsteck and Liaromatis figure to compete for the starting shortstop job.
“From a production standpoint we’re looking for really big things from Brendon,” Luken said. “He sees the ball well, just a good stick.”