Paul Johnson’s baseball notes

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When new Aurora Central Catholic baseball coach Sean Bieterman was wrapping up his duties at Lincoln-Way Central over the summer, he

managed to see his new team play some summer ball.

“I saw that we had some nice pieces and some really good players,” Bieterman said. “We have some terrific athletes that are capable of doing some

great things. It’s exciting. I think we can do some really good things.”

Bieterman echoed those sentiments in the preseason, and the Chargers have been better than expected thus far. After Friday’s rout of IMSA and

Saturday’s doubleheader sweep over Genoa-Kingston, ACC stands at 12-1 and rides an 11-game winning streak into this week’s action.

“We have a situation where we have kids that want to win, so I’m lucky to come into that,” Bieterman said. “Since they haven’t had a lot of success in

the past, they’re hungry to have success now.”

Bieterman has had the luxury of using ace pitcher Matt Miller later in the week in Suburban Christian crossover games, saving his arm at shortstop

for the early week division games. The strong pitching of Andrew Bruss and Matt Rahn has allowed him to do that. Now, the Chargers have three

strong pitchers, which, along with veteran catcher Shawn Soris, have helped propel the hot start.

“Bruss and Rahn have been solid at the front end of the rotation. We have several guys we can give the ball to and feel good about it.”

Bieterman installed a higher expectation in the program from the moment he stepped in, and this veteran group was drawn to it immediately.

“He brings a lot of excitement,” Soris said. “The talent is there. We definitely feel like we can make some noise in the postseason.”

Batavia rolling too

The Bulldogs are ready to dive into Upstate Eight River play this week off to the best start in coach Matt Holm’s tenure — 11-1.

They shook off their first loss of the season last Monday to Neuqua Valley, their first Upstate Eight loss of the season, with wins over Metea Valley,

South Elgin and West Aurora.

So far, it’s been the pitching that has done the job. Ace Austin Shanahan has done his part, going 3-0, but Luke Horton is also 3-0 and hasn’t even

allowed a run yet. Add in a solid Emilio Tenuta, and the Bulldogs are equipped to hang in there every week of the three-game series format of the

Upstate Eight River.

“It’s our starting pitching,” Shanahan said. “Myself and especially Tenuta and Horton, they’ve done a great job. We’re just going to keep going with

that.”

The Bulldogs get tested right away with a three-game set against perennial power St. Charles East this week.

“In the preseason rankings, we were nowhere to be found, so this is a big week for us,” Horton said.

West hits a slide

After a 6-0 start, West Aurora has hit a rough patch. The Blackhawks lost five games in an eight-day stretch, including getting swept by Wheaton

Warrenville South in three games to start DuPage Valley Conference play.

This week, the 6-5 Blackhawks have three games against highly touted Naperville Central in DVC play.

“We went from feeling really good to things not going very well in a week,” West coach John Reeves said. “We’re trying to focus on the positives.”

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