April 15, 2015
Splitsville for ’Clones
For the Cyclones and Prairie State College, each conference win is
important. So splitting a doubleheader April 14 helped.
The men in green took the first game 9-2 with some big numbers at the plate by Dylan Woodworth (3-for-4, 2 RBIs) and Cristian Araiza and Mike Rankin who each went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs.
Much like their second game with College of Lake County, the Cyclones took this one into extra innings, losing by one run (6-5). Sheamus Brennan was 2-for-4 while Ryan Kull and Danny Kipp each had a hit and 2 RBIs.
April 12, 2015
Cyclones get hot and cold
The Cyclones played a hot and cold doubleheader with College of Lake County
April 11, getting trounced in game one (8-0) and going eight innings in the
second game but falling 11-10 in game two.
The stunned offense could only come up with four hits in the 8-0 loss, two each by Bobby Neylon and Ryan Kull. But the Cyclones brought their bats to the second game. In the first three innings the Cyclones scored all 10 runs thanks to some big hits by Greg Wymer (3-for-3, two runs scored), Dylan Woodworth (two hits, 4 RBIs), Ryan Trokey (4 RBIs), Kull (2 RBIs), Cristian Araiza (two hits), Neylon (two hits), and Dylan Woodworth (two hits). For all their efforts though, the Cyclones went into extra innings but couldn’t hold off the Lancers for the narrow 11-10 loss.
April 9, 2015
Cyclones learning to play clutch ball
With each game the Cyclones play comes more improvement and confidence. When
they faced an always tough Triton College on April 8, they demonstrated that
by splitting the doubleheader.
The first game kept everyone on the edge of the bench. For the first three innings the Cyclones were silenced at the plate, down 3-0. The bats came alive for five runs in the fourth. But after that point each team scored for flip-flopping leads. The Cyclones had 11 hits in the game and four more runs in the top of the seventh and enough to edge out the Trojans 9-8. Southpaw David Kutschke pitched a no decision after five innings, and Danny Kipp came in for relief for the win. Both worked hard as did the offense. Ryan Trokey (1-for-4) and Greg Wymer (2-for-3 with a double) each had an RBI. Bobby Neylon (2-for-3) and James Lulek (1-for-3) each had a stolen base and scored twice. Joe O’Hara went 1-for-2 with a run scored and 2 RBIs, Mike Rankin went 1-for-4 with 2 RBIs and Dylan Woodworth was 2-for-3 with a run scored, double and 3 RBIs.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference games, head Coach Mike Kane reserved his top pitchers and used more subs in game two, which the Cyclones lost 6-0. There was no shortage of singles but only six hits overall—one hit each by Cristian Araiza, Jackson Rocha, Jorge Hernandez, and Wymer. Neylon had a decent game going 2-for-3 with a triple.
“I’m really happy with how we played. We’re improving. I told the guys we were out-hitting other teams that we lost to, but they were not timely, clutch hits. But you need to build confidence to perform under pressure and get those clutch hits. Now we’re getting there,” Kane said.
April 8, 2015
Clutch hits give Cyclones the sweep
Some clutch hits, including a grand slam, helped the Cyclones earn their
first sweep of the season April 7. Morton College felt the brunt of Moraine
Valley’s offense as the men in green won 13-0 and 14-2.
The first game ended up being a shutout for the Cyclones, but was close until the seventh. After three scoreless innings, the Cyclones slowly added a run in the fourth, two more in the fifth and sixth until the offense broke open in the seventh. The Cyclones had 18 hits with some big numbers from Greg Wymer (2-for-5, homerun, run scored, 2 RBIs), Cristian Araiza (3-for-4, two runs scored, 2 RBIs), Joe O’Hara (3-for-5, double, 3 RBIs), and Jorge Hernandez (2-for-3, two runs scored, 3 RBIs). Ricky Rogers pitched a complete game.
The second game also was tight for a few innings with the Cyclones only up 3-2 in the bottom of the third. Holding a 10-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth, the Cyclones needed two runs for a mercy rule victory, which was desired as the night grew colder. Mike Owens did them the favor with a grand slam to officially end the game. Ryan Trokey, Mike Rankin, Zach Moravec, and O’Hara each had an RBI. Wymer was 2-for-4 with two doubles while Sheamus Brennan had three walks. Matt Schmeski allowed two runs and pitched 5 2/3 for the win.
April 6, 2015
Cyclones silenced at home
The Cyclones were held to seven runs after being shut down by a tough Oakton
Community College squad on April 4.
Although Moraine Valley fell 13-6 in the first game, a couple of players were stellar at the plate. James Lulek was 3-for-4 with two homeruns, a single, 4 RBIs and two runs scored while Bobby Neylon was 2-for-4 with two singles and an RBI.
The second game proved tougher with Dylan Woodworth going 1-for-2 with an RBI and Jackson Rocha going 1-for-2 with a run scored in the 15-1 loss.
March 31, 2015
Cyclones denied by Spartans
The Cyclones had their work cut out for them March 30 when they faced a
tough Elgin Community College squad. Moraine Valley faltered in their first
meeting this season, falling 5-1 and 7-2 to the Spartans.
In the first game, Mike Owens had two hits. The Cyclones were ahead in the second game until some walks threw the Cyclones off. Joe O'Hara had two hits.
March 10, 2015
Updates from the Cyclones in Arkansas spring training
March 8- In their opening spring training game, the Cyclones crushed North
Arkansas College, 20-3. Winning pitcher Ricky Rogers gave up only two earned
runs. Greg Wymer led the offense with a double, grand slam and six RBIs.
Ryan Kull hit a homerun, two singles and four RBIs, and Mike Rankin added
two hits. The team had a total of 12 hits in the five-inning game.
March 8- The Cyclones faced Mesabi Range College (MN) and lost 5-2. David Kutschke pitched five strong innings while Ryan Donnelly and Matt Schmeski each pitched one. The offense was limited to four hits. Cristian Araiza picked up a single and double while Ryan Trokey and Zach Moravec each had a single.
March 9- The Cyclones lost 5-3 to North Arkansas College in their second meeting. James Lulek pitched 3 1/3 followed by Jorge Hernandez with 2 2/3 innings, but the offense was held to three hits. Mike Owens had a big game with a double, homerun and all three RBIs while Ryan Trokey hit a single.
March 3, 2015
Cyclones ready to bounce back in 2015
Of all the aspirations and expectations that come with a new baseball season
with new coaches, one thing is for certain, the Cyclones will have more
homeruns than last year.
New head Coach Mike Kane took over the Cyclones with assistant John Schenck starting last fall. Kane played some years in the minor leagues before being an assistant coach at Moraine Valley in the late 1980s. He more recently was an assistant at Lewis University and Prairie State College.
Things are looking good for this 2015 squad, but Kane guaranteed his players will hit more than one homerun, which is what they had last season. As a former hitting coach, he wants to see his guys hit hard.
“I want the kids to drive the ball. If you strike out, you strike out but have a hit. Hit the line drive,” Kane said. “I’ve always been a hitter, so I expect our guys to get hits off everyone they face. That’s why I’m confident.”
After a handful of games this past fall, the Cyclones surprised some teams. Kane is expecting that trend to continue this spring. After fall ball ended, he talked to each player and explained his expectations and what they could do to improve. If someone wants to start, they need to work for it; even starters (which are mostly sophomores) have to work hard to maintain their positions.
“We all have the same goal—we want to get better. We want to play well and get better every game, hitting our peak in the playoffs. That’s where we’ll meet our big challenge when we face the other #1 pitchers. As long as we play smart baseball, we’ll do it. I’ve made the guys look at the [award] banners in the gym and see how few championships we have. That’s going to change. We’re going to go far. I’m hoping for a sectional,” Kane said.
Last year was rough for the Cyclones when they went 9-17 on the season. With the talent on this year’s team and the drive for a rebound, Kane expects nothing below .500. Returning from an All-Conference season are Bobby Neylon (Tinley Park) and Sheamus Brennan (Tinley Park). The hard-working Neylon played third and could see some action at catcher this season. Brennan is expected to lead off and set the tone for the games. Both are stellar leaders for this up-and-coming group. After plugging in many games on the mound, Ricky Rogers (Stagg) is back and should eat up some innings for the Cyclones. Sophomore James Lulek (Lemont) also will contribute to the pitching staff, but his strong arm will be needed more in the outfield. Hard-throwing sophomore righty Matt Schmeski (Shepard) and southpaw David Kutschke (Evergreen Park) should add to the pitching rotation. “I think our pitchers will do a good job. I tell them to pitch to contact, just don’t put it down the middle, let other teams hit the ball because we’ve got good defense. Our defense is solid,” Kane said.
The others returners who should help the cause include outfielder Cristian Araiza (Shepard), pitcher Jose Hernandez (Curie), shortstop Jason Hine (Oak Forest), infielder/pitcher Ryan Kull (Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences), outfielder Mike Owens (Oak Forest), infielder Michael Rankin (Stagg), and outfielder Jackson Rocha (De La Salle).
Not only will Kane expect a high level of athleticism, but some class and respect for each other, the opponents, coaches, and the school. Those two elements, plus the drive to improve, bode well for 2015.
“They have the motivation after last year’s results. If we work as a team, we’ll be good,” Kane said. “I’m real excited. We can’t wait to get going.”
Joining Kane is Schenck, who was a four-year starter at Robert Morris University and is working with the pitchers. “He’s very knowledgeable and intense. He works our boys hard,” Kane said.
The Cyclones head to Arkansas for spring training on March 7.