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Busy summer helps Panthers build for 2015

Published: Thursday, July 24, 2014 10:25 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Scott Schmid - sschmid@shawmedia.com)
Luke Greenberg delivers a pitch in a game during the spring season. Greenberg is expected to return and anchor the pitching staff for the Panthers next year.

CAROL STREAM – This summer season was a busy one for the Glenbard North baseball team, which got in 21 games despite some questionable weather along the way.

Coming off another strong spring campaign, the Panthers posted a record of 7-10-4 and saw the future of the team start to take shape.

"A lot of guys got plenty of experience," Glenbard North coach Rich Smelko said. "I thought offensively, we made some strides this summer going into next spring. We are not where we want to be, but I thought some of our seniors-to-be played well this summer. And a lot of our juniors-to-be got valuable playing time."

As has been the case in the recent past, the squad's pitching staff should be a strength heading into 2015. Despite the loss of staff ace Matt Albin to graduation, Glenbard North brings back two reliable starters in Eric Orze and Luke Greenberg. Orze won five games in the spring while throwing 53 2/3 innings and Greenberg recorded an ERA of 1.50 in 46 2/3 frames.

"We've had really good pitching for the past six or seven years," Smelko said. "Offensively, it's been kind of hit or miss. Our offense is always one of the things we are looking to improve."

The Panthers do return a nice group of position players, led by Orze, Greenberg, Nolan Jasinski and Sam Ledbetter. Incoming junior Alex Taylor also might have carved out a spot for himself in the infield with an impressive summer. Jasinski hit .315 as a junior with 29 runs scored while Ledbetter batted .309 with 15 runs scored in the spring.

"Alex hit the ball really well," Smelko said. "The ball really jumps off his bat."

Next up is an important offseason for the Panthers, especially with many starting spots still up for grabs. Conditioning leading up to next spring will be a key.

"We have to keep lifting and get bigger and stronger," Smelko said. "There is plenty of time to work on their own as far as the offseason stuff. They have three months to work on their craft."

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