Coming into this baseball season with high expectations, the Cyclones endured struggles, but when they were “on,” they could outplay any team they faced.
This Cyclone crew had returners and athletes who put some solid games together with impressive hits and pitching. Often times this season, however, that worked in only one game in a number of doubleheaders, leading to seven splits. An abnormally cold spring, injuries and inconsistency plagued the team, leading to a 17-29 overall record and 8-12 finish in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference.
Despite the final result, a number of players stood out, and four received honors. On the mound, Brian Alvarez (Solorio Academy) and Ryan Czajowski (Argo) kept their team in some tough games. Alvarez threw a 4.12 this season, striking out 43 while Czajowski tallied 30 strikeouts. Liam Dennehy (Mt. Carmel) and Robert “Bobby” Peterka (Shepard) worked the plate all season, putting up some big numbers. Dennehy batted .424 with a .653 slugging percentage, batted in 25 runs, slugged 16 doubles, and stole 18 bases. Peterka batted .321 with a .500 slugging percentage and collected 13 doubles. John “Jack” Collins (St. Rita) added to the mix with a .294 average, 11 runs batted in and 13 stolen bases. Dennehy was named to the All-NJCAA Region IV first team and also got nods to the All-Conference first team with Alvarez. Collins and Peterka were named to the All-Conference second team.
Looking ahead, the coaches will change some strategies and they look forward to some strong recruits and returners.
“Next season looks promising. We have some returning weekend starters and a couple of contributing freshman returning. The recruiting class is full of pitchers,” said head Coach Hugh Dennehy, who finished his second year at the helm. “Next year with the new group we’ll instill more ‘team at-bats’ focus, obtain a larger pitching staff and have more discipline in all aspects.”