Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Defending DAC champion Trojans start season tonight

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By TR HARLAN

Long-time Chesterton baseball coach Jack Campbell knows the three keys to defending last season’s DAC championship.

Pitching -Defense - Chemistry.

“Winning the conference title at 13-1 was a surprise to a lot of people,” Campbell said. “We had great chemistry, pitched well, fielded well and got key hits. You can’t always count on all those things.”

The Trojans return two all-conference performers in shortstop Corey Rusboldt and centerfielder Andrew Ralph.

“We’ve got good, key kids back from last year,” Campbell said. “We have 10 seniors on the team. A lot of experience is back, including eight kids up from JV.”

Chesterton should be strong up the middle of the diamond with Rusboldt at short, Mike Griffin at second and Ralph in center. Chance Lawson takes over for Mike Crowley behind the plate.

“We expect to be very competitive,” Campbell said. “We have depth at about every position.”

Tyler Sufana mans left field again with Jeremy Jaeger taking the spot in right field. The corner infield positions will be manned by Cam O’Brien at third and the combination of Tyler Quillin and Brandon Roeske at first.

“When you get good pitching and defend extremely well, you have a chance to be pretty good,” Campbell said. “Those are things we expect to be able to do.”

On opening night at Gavit, Matt Kubacki will get the ball on the mound for the Trojans. Roeske and Quillin should join Kubacki in logging the bulk of the innings.

“Matt Kubacki had a really good summer and will probably get the ball on the mound opening night,” Campbell said. “The bulk of the pitching will be handled by Kubacki, Quillin and Roeske.”

The Trojans also have plenty of arms to fill in when needed. Rusboldt threw during the summer, while Dallas Milligan saw a lot of innings in relief last year. Zach Burris, Mike Jacobucci, O’Brien and Cole Teal all should see time as well.

“Rusboldt threw a little last summer, but it’s tough being a shortstop and pitcher,” Campbell said. “It’s a lot on your arm. Cole Teal is back in the fold as well. We’ll need all of them the first week with six games on the schedule.”

Offensively, the Trojans will face some of the state’s top pitchers throughout the season.

“I think we’ll be able to put the ball in play team offensively,” Campbell said. “The area has such unbelievable pitching that it’s going to be tough. We’re going to have to be able to get timely hits when we have guys in scoring position.”

If all the phases of the game come together, the difference may be chemistry.

“Everybody talks about creating chemistry and I think it just happens,” Campbell said. “This group was successful last year and has been in basically every sport they’ve ever played.”

 

 

 

Posted 4/7/2014