At 5-11 overall and 4-7 in the South Suburban Red, Eisenhower may not be in line to win its conference’s championship.
However, coach Mike Aggen is confident that will change in the very near future.
“Take my word for it, the future is very, very bright,” said Aggen, who’s in his second year at the helm. “We’re competing much better this season. There’s a little more drive and desire to compete and to win. We only have three seniors on the roster. We’ll have six returning starters next year.”
Two of those seniors compose the middle of the infield. Cristian Diaz de Sandy is a four-year starter at shortstop, while Cristian Espinoza has manned second base the past two seasons.
“They’ve been very good defensively,” Aggen said. “We’re confident we have some kids who will step up next season.”
The Cardinals finished 2-25 a year ago, so it’s to easy to see why Aggen is enthused. His top two pitchers, juniors Justin Longoria and sophomore Zac Cozzi, have kept Eisenhower in most games and should be even better next season.
Junior catcher Juan Gallardo is the team’s top hitter and provides a steadying influence behind the plate.
“I don’t think Justin has had a bad outing all season,” Aggen said. “Zac’s a competitor. Gallardo is a kid who will have opportunities to play college ball. He plays hard and knows the game.”
Don’t sleep on Illinois Lutheran
Illinois Lutheran is a team to keep an eye on in Class 1A. The Chargers are 18-1 overall and 7-1 in the River Valley Conference.
Grant Farmer has been a vital two-way threat for the Chargers, posting a 6-0 mark on the mound and delivering with the bat. Sam Geraci has been a major run-producer.
The Chargers will compete in the Grant Park Regional along with Seton, Morgan Park Academy, St. Francis de Sales and the host school.
Sandburg holding fundraiser
On Monday, Sandburg is holding a fundraiser for teacher/swimming coach Jane Caliendo, who is battling cancer.
The Eagles will take on Lockport at 4:30 p.m. Caliendo, a 1986 Sandburg grad, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Admission is $1, as are hot dogs. All proceeds go to help defray Caliendo’s mounting medical costs, as well as benefit cancer research. Fans are encouraged to arrive at 4 p.m. for a special tailgating event.
Player of the Week
Julian Gutierrez, of Sandburg, is the SouthtownStar Baseball Player of the Week.
The outfielder was 9-of-13 with a double, two homers, five runs and six RBI.