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Sports

Baseball: Young Foxes look forward to a season of learning

Yorkville graduated 13 seniors who were a part of 50 wins the last two years

Yorkville baserunner Elias Flowers (3) trots onto third base during a boys varsity baseball game against Geneseo at Yorkville High School on May 8, 2018.
Yorkville baserunner Elias Flowers (3) trots onto third base during a boys varsity baseball game against Geneseo at Yorkville High School on May 8, 2018.

Scott Luken won't say the cupboard is bare at Yorkville.

But it will be a new look this spring.

The Foxes graduated 13 seniors who were a part of over 50 wins the last two seasons, including Record/Ledger Player of the Year Stephen Sewruk.

With only two projected starters back from a 22-11 team, this will be a work in progress.

"I think we have quality young men, but we lack game day experience at the varsity level," said Luken, in his ninth season as Yorkville coach. "We're just very young. We're stressing that the finish line is not until the postseason. This will be a learning and development year, but we also feel it can be successful."

That's already been apparent.

Three sophomores started Yorkville's season opener at Joliet West. Sophomore Evan May worked out of a first-inning jam to throw four shutout innings. Another sophomore, Lukas Haddox, had the game-winning single.

"We have a lot of young talented ballplayers," Luken said.

With Sewruk and Ty Liaromatis, two guys who combined to win 30 games the last two years, gone, Yorkville graduated its three top starting pitchers. The fourth, Christian Webb, was lost to a season-ending injury.

Luken has listed some 20 different guys who could pitch.

May, coming off a strong summer, has the makings of a strong starter. Also vying for time on the mound are seniors Jackson Nance and Kyle Koch, juniors Cameron Caldwell, Colin Glass, Sam Golinski, Eric Hix, Sterling Myers, and Jake Rybicki and sophomores Ryan Shimp and Cole Yearsely.

"We want guys to get game experience and develop our pitching staff," said Luken, who to that end has added a number of JV games. "You don't just say next man up after graduating the guys we did. I think we have a solid compliment of guys. We'll let the first few weeks determine some things."

Senior Elias Flowers, who will play collegiately at Jacksonville University, returns atop the Foxes' lineup after hitting .391 with a .469 on-base percentage and 32 runs scored last spring. Flowers hit leadoff much of his junior season, and for now is penciled in to hit atop Yorkville's lineup. Rybicki, who had a triple in the first game, could play shortstop, second base or first base. Josh Reifsteck saw a bit of time last year, and played second base in the Foxes' first game.

Senior Justin Weis had a double and threw out a runner from behind the plate in the opener, and fellow senior Bryan Corrigan could see time at a corner infield position. Haddox played third base at Joliet.

"For most of these guys, it's an eye-opening experience," Luken said. "I like what I see from that kid [Haddox]. He's a gamer, like his brother. He's got a lot of upside."

The Foxes have five more games scheduled this coming week before taking a trip south to Tennessee the last week of March.

"We'll look to improve over the course of the season," Luken said. "We're taking this as a journey."

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