Stevenson Starts Out Hot

Despite cold weather and a sluggish start, Patriot baseball starts off season with a win


Nick Brueckert ’19 puts the finishing touches on an opening day victory for the patriots. Brueckert caught the flip from Nick Bonk ’18 to complete the groundout and finish the game.

On a frigid Monday afternoon, the Stevenson Patriots opened up their baseball season against the visiting Glenbrook South Titans. The cold weather did not deter the patriots away from playing great baseball, opening up the 2018 season with a win, beating the Titans 7-2.

The first few innings were not keen for those in favor of offensive baseball, but Stevenson anchored itself behind the pitching of Matthew Mittelmark ’18, who diced up Glenbrook South’s lineup.

“I was just trying to get ahead of the batters and the priority is to let them hit it,” Mittelmark said. “I trust my fielders and I know if I throw strikes, they got my back.”

Through three innings of play, the score stood scoreless, as both teams struggled to put the ball in play; each team struck out three times a piece and each only had one hit as the fourth inning began. Head Varsity Baseball Coach Patrick Block blames this mostly on the early season.

“Early on, we didn’t score much and couldn’t really do much because since it was the first time hitting live on the field, our timing was off, so it took a couple times through the order to get the guys going,” Block said. “Once we started playing some small ball with stealing and bunting, it put the pressure on their defense, made them make mistakes, and then that’s how we added some runs.”

Glenbrook South added a run in the fourth inning after a close play at home plate, however Stevenson bounced right back in the fifth after Michael D’Angelo ’19 bunted home a run. And then, everything broke loose.

Stevenson elected to have pitch hitter Caleb Evans ’18 lead off the sixth inning and he got on after a walk. Then another walk after an eight pitch at bat by third baseman Ryan McElhinny ’19. Catcher Jack Janota ’19 laid down a bunt and due to a throwing error from Glenbrook south, both Evans and McElhinny were able to score and Janota stood on third base. After another walk, now with runners on first and third, D’Angelo came through with a bases clearing triple into right center field.

And that’s not all. A wild pitch sent D’Angelo home to make the lead 6-1 patriots. And after some more small ball from the patriots, the score stood at 7-1 after six innings.

Although the patriots were clicking offensively towards the end of the game, Block doesn’t even believe the offense is the patriots’ strength overall as a team.

“Our pitching staff is the strength of our team and our only approach is to throw strikes,” Block said.

Stevenson pitching was outstanding all afternoon, only allowing three hits and striking out eight batters. According to Bradley commit Ari Gordon ’18, this is the type of pitching fans will be seeing all season.

“Pitching is definitely the strength of our team,” Gordon said. “I rely a lot more on my fastball than [Mittelmark] does. I also rely on the location of my fastball, so I think the combination of pitches like his curveball, his change up, and then my fastball… it is a much different look for the hitters.”

With a roster covered with collegiate talent, there is much to rave about when it comes to this team. Although the lineup consisted of three lefties at the top of the lineup, Block says that is subject to change as the season progresses.

“This will not be the lineup we will be using all year and I don’t know what it will look like,” Block said. “I didn’t really think “lefty righty”… it was more a player personnel type thing.”

Now at 1-0, the Stevenson Patriots look to take on Highland Park on Thursday. First pitch is at 4:45pm.