Conference title or bust
Motivated squad sees opportunity, will lean on experience
By Jason Arndt
Westosha Central High School enters its baseball season with a mission to win the Southern Lakes Conference title, and go far into the WIAA Division 1 tournament, Falcons’ coach Jacob Morman reports.
“The really cool thing about this group of guys is that they want to do something special this year,” Morman said. “Most of these guys have played with me for a few years now and have gained a lot of varsity experience so they know how things work.”
The group of guys have stayed relatively the same from last season, when the Falcons finished 18-8 overall and third place in the SLC at 10-4, two games behind Waterford and four from state champion Burlington.
While the Falcons handed the Demons their sole conference last season, Morman noted they are still a good team, stating they are the state champions.
“Burlington is still the team to beat,” he said. “You can’t be considered the best until you beat the best, and they are the defending state champions.”
As the Falcons look to the season, they have 11 returning letter-winners, including first team all-conference honorees Garrett Gilbert and Trent Jones.
Gilbert, a catcher and Creighton University commit, capped off a junior season with a .398 batting average, five home runs, 25 RBI and nine doubles.
For Jones, who plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, the centerfielder collected 16 stolen bases and batted .321 with 27 runs scored.
Meanwhile, third baseman Tanner Bykowski, a McHenry County College commit, looks to build upon his junior season, where he batted a robust .488 with 15 doubles, 37 RBI and two home runs.
“I thought two years in a row (Bykowski) should have been a first team player, but because of the quality of players we had in our conference at the infield position, he just missed out both times,” he said.
“Defensively Trent is right up there at the top for players in this area. (Trent) is our spark plug that does a really good job.”
Josh Leslie, a junior infielder, looks to have a breakout season, according to Morman.
As a sophomore, Leslie stole a team-leading 16 bases, batted .345 and scored 22 runs through 26 games played.
“It is going to be a big year for Josh Leslie as he is a junior with some real potential to play at the next level,” Morman said about the SLC honorable mention.
Another player expected to see playing time is Bryce Biedrzycki, who batted .356 with 22 runs scored as a sophomore.
Bryce Edwards, a senior Carthage College commit, looks to split time between the mound and infield.
On the mound, the Falcons feature senior Parker Krumm, who had a 2.14 ERA and compiled a 6-0 record through 39 1/3 innings last season.
Adding to the mix is sophomore Austin Glidden, the Falcons’ team leader in strikeouts last season with 22 through 33 innings pitched, and had a 3-1 era as a freshman.
“As far as Austin Glidden goes, he had a really good year last season as a freshman,” said Morman. “I think the year of experience he gained last season is invaluable going into this season.”
Other returners are seniors Jack Schroeder (catcher/infielder), Jake Werth (outfielder) and Austin Podella (pitcher/outfielder).
New to the team is senior Nick Uzzardo (pitcher/infielder), junior Sam LeFebve (outfielder) and sophomores Dylan Anderson (pitcher/infielder) and Alex Salerno (pitcher/outfielder).
“Those guys that are returning starters and also those new guys on the team will work and push each other each day at practice and in the end the guys that give us the best chance that day will be in the starting lineup,” said Morman.