LOMBARD – If the summer postseason run by Montini's baseball team was any indication, the Broncos will rely on pitching next spring.
The Broncos entered as the No. 16 seed in the 16-team Fenwick regional for the summer playoffs, but shutouts from Sean Frontzak and Bruno Bodnum led Montini to a pair of postseason wins. Montini beat Lyons Township 4-0 in the opener and York 4-0 in the second round before being no-hit by Willowbrook in the regional semifinal on July 16.
"When we got Sean on the mound we can beat anybody," coach Eric Scott said after the LT win. "He pitched a heck of a ball game and did a great job. I got a lot of respect for Lyons Township. Year in, year out they are one of the best programs in the state. George Ushela does a great job over there and I got nothing but good things to say about their program. That was a huge win for us."
Frontzak was a standout pitcher in the spring as a junior, so his performance in the summer is nothing new. It's the start from Bodnum, who will be a junior next spring, that showed Montini could have more depth in its pitching staff in the future.
Discovering and learning about new players to complement the returners is a major part of the summer season.
"The positive thing is we got to see what a lot of young guys can do, what a lot of sophomores and a lot of juniors can do," Scott said. "These kids have a lot going on with football and basketball. They got full schedules."
One of the younger players that stood out was junior Justin Blake. Blake is also a football player and his athleticism on the field stands out quickly. He played right field and second base during the summer playoffs while hitting third in the lineup.
Scott raved about Blake's summer performance. Blake may look like a prototypical wide receiver, but he is no baseball rookie.
"I started playing baseball before football and I fell in love with it then," Blake said. "Football came right after."
Playing both sports during the summer is physically taxing, but Blake endured. Now that the summer baseball season is over he can devote his full attention to football.
"It's football in the morning from 10 to 12 and right out to baseball," Blake said. "I'm pretty exhausted. I try to get a nap in before the game, anything."
Senior shortstop Jake Pestel was another standout for the Broncos, who graduated much of the core that helped the team to a sectional final in Class 3A this past spring.