The Moraine Valley Community College baseball team had a talented squad of athletes, who came together for some games and tripped up at others this season.

“We really could play with anybody this year. We were in almost every game. We had the talent, but it was hard to put things together – defense, hitting and pitching – and string some games together,” said Head Coach Mike Kane, who finished his second season at the helm.

The 2023-24 Moraine Valley Community College baseball team.

The 2023-24 Moraine Valley Community College baseball team.

There were a number of games when the Cyclones held a lead and narrowly lost (or won) in the final innings. They ended the season with an overall 9-37 record and went 3-11 in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference. In spite of the record, several guys on the team played some solid ball this season.

Sophomore and team captain, Jack Hoh (Lincoln-Way East), was the starting catcher for the Cyclones. He had some clutch batting moments, ending the year with a .386 average, 28 RBIs, 17 doubles, four homeruns and 54 hits. Early in the season, he was ranked as high as No. 1 in NJCAA Division II for his batting average.

Freshman southpaw Xavier Aguilar (Bremen) was the ace on the mound, shutting down many teams at the plate. He collected 67 strikeouts and earned one no-hitter against Prairie State College on April 12.

The pleasant surprise this season, according to Kane, was sophomore pitcher Dane McDonald (Stagg). Last season, he was a relief pitcher and was going to be the closer this year. Instead, he was made a starter and threw some lights-out games. He collected 40 strikeouts over 36 innings thrown.

The players had a tight bond this year, rooting for each other through the ups and downs. At times, the lineup included seven freshmen, making this a young crew. That youth has the potential to grow their skills for next season. However, Kane won’t be around as he is stepping down to retire from coaching.

“I love coaching and will still do hitting lessons, but I’m done with college coaching. It’s time,” he said.

Tyler Zunkel will take over the program as the new head coach for the 2024-25 season.

For updates on Cyclones Athletics, visit mvcyclones.com.

 

For news media inquiries, contact Maura Vizza, Moraine Valley communications specialist and sports information coordinator, at (708) 974-5742 or Vizzam@morainevalley.edu.