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Sandwich

Baseball: Sandwich should have good pitching depth, starting with Sartori

Sandwich senior Justin Sartori, 7-5 last year with a 2.72 ERA, is one of three top returners on the mound for the Indians.
Sandwich senior Justin Sartori, 7-5 last year with a 2.72 ERA, is one of three top returners on the mound for the Indians.

If Justin Sartori is Sandwich's No. 1 pitcher, Jordan Isham is 1B.

It's a good spring for the Indians to have both back on the mound.

Sandwich returns its top three pitchers – Sartori, Isham and Zach Hix – from a team that went 12-16 last spring.

Sartori, an all-conference selection, went 7-5 as a junior with a 2.72 earned run average and 60 strikeouts in 61.2 innings. He also hit .411 and led the Indians with 37 hits and 29 runs batted in with 11 doubles.

"All of those three guys have good stuff, and they compete hard," Sandwich coach Jason VanPelt said. "They're smart pitchers and they have a lot of experience."

That core is boosted by a junior group that won the sophomore conference title last year. Christopher Schiera, Evan Underhile and Jake Pfaff are all juniors who could toe the rubber.

That kind of pitching depth is important now more than ever.

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.

"We have some young guys with some decent velocity and decent stuff," VanPelt said. "They'll get opportunities with the new rules. Hopefully they can step up when we need them. We have about seven guys that can compete for innings."

Isham will be at the top of the lineup and playing shortstop when not pitching, with Hayden Isham catching and playing outfield. Sartori will play third base when not pitching and Jake Roop, who is committed to Waubonsee, is penciled in at first and and outfield. Pitcher/infielder Austin Salemi is another junior who could contribute.

Weather permitting, the Indians start their season March 15 in DeKalb, the first of five games over the next two weeks. Their home opener is March 23 against Somonauk.

"It will be important to get off to a good start," VanPelt said. "We need to stay healthy, get good seasons from the guys returning and have the younger guys with potential step in. It will come down to the little things, fundamentals and execution."

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