With a handful of sophomores back in the lineup this spring and plenty of new faces, the Moraine Valley Community College baseball team is looking to its second-year players to lead the way.

Despite the coaches having all of fall and a warmer winter to work with the players outside, they’re still uncertain how the team will perform in games.

“There are many unknowns. It’s a blank canvas. We only have three starters returning, and we have guys with potential who should help us. We’ll see how the freshmen do at this level. It’ll be interesting to see how the whole team adapts,” said Head Coach Mike Kane, in his second season at the helm. “We’re excited to see what happens.”

The returning starters include catcher Jack Hoh (Lincoln-Way East), who caught 230 innings last season and threw out about half of base stealers in addition to averaging .276 at the plate and earning All-Conference honorable mention; Arnoldo Velazquez, a.k.a. Junior, (Lockport), who played every game last year and made a formidable force at shortstop; and Christian Cardenas (Basha), who tracked every ball in centerfield.

Sophomore pitchers Nate Pacetti (Eisenhower) and Joshua Basinger (Lockport) should be the top hurlers for the Cyclones. This duo, along with Hoh and Velazquez, are the captains, who Kane is looking to for help in guiding the newcomers.

Transfers Christian Rosales (Richards) and Dimitri Spatharakis (Lemont), both outfielders, should make an impact at the plate. Freshman left-handed pitcher Xavier Aguilar (Bremen) should be another top pitcher for the Cyclones. Freshman second baseman Niko Mastoras (Lockport) played in high school with Velazquez, so they should work well together in the middle. Mastoras also can pitch when needed.

The pitching staff is deeper, and the coaches are looking for more innings from returners Ryan McDonnell (Lemont), Nomar Areizaga (Frederick Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center) and Ryan O’Shea (Richards). Dane McDonald (Stagg) is another hard-throwing returner and will be the closer.

When the Cyclones head to Florida for spring training the week of March 10, everyone on the roster will have a chance to compete before hitting a solid season schedule. Like last year, the coaches can move players into different positions when needed, with a goal to continuously improve.

“I hope we get better each game. I want to make sure everyone is always improving. Our depth is pretty good, so I also want us to make the playoffs,” Kane said.

Kane is joined again by Assistant Coach TJ Walton. The Cyclones open their season at home on Saturday, March 2 against Black Hawk College. 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.