This Cyclones baseball season started slow but ended with some key wins and individual honors.

After the retirement of Head Coach Hugh Dennehy in the fall, the Cyclones brought back Mike Kane in January to lead the program. Kane coached the Cyclones from 2014 to 2016 before taking a leave and was happy to return to the helm. It took a little time for him and the assistants to figure out the players and maximize their talents in the right positions.

“We started slow and moved players around. After we put Christian [Cardenas] (Basha) in the outfield, he tracked the balls – he was air traffic control – and made everyone better out there. The defense came around,” Kane said.

The 2022-23 Moraine Valley Community College baseball team.

The 2022-23 Moraine Valley Community College baseball team.

With a shortage of players, the coaches had to use certain athletes more often than they wanted out of necessity. Arnoldo Velazquez (Lockport) and Maxwell Hensler (Oak Forest) played every game, and Jack Hoh (Lincoln-Way East) caught 230 innings. Ben Cash (Oak Lawn) was the No. 2 pitcher, but he also caught to give Hoh a break. When No. 1 pitcher Daniel Rosado (Reavis) had an off day, he was put at third base.

“One good thing is that with only 25 guys on the team, we have pitchers who also are position players and want to hit,” Kane added.

The Cyclones ended the season in the playoffs with a 15-32 overall record and 6-8 finish in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference. They gained momentum near the end of the season after winning a string of games, including a doubleheader with Sauk Valley Community College, to qualify for the NJCAA Division II Sectionals. But they lost their final two playoff games.

“We finished strong, but we have to step up a level in the playoffs. The teams put in their best pitchers, and we weren’t ready. Now, more of our guys have been to playoffs, they’ve seen it and know how it is for next year,” Kane explained.

Highlights from the season include some conference doubleheader sweeps, advancing into the playoffs, defeating some teams that beat them earlier in the year and individual honors.

Third-year pitcher Rosado was the ace on the mound all year, throwing 92 strikeouts with a 3.41 ERA. He was named to the All-Conference first team. “He was outstanding every game he pitched and gave us a chance to win. At the start, we didn’t have much defense to back him up, but he was always on. He’s that good a pitcher,” Kane said.

Hoh came in to his first year catching for the Cyclones with expectations to be tough behind the plate. Kane said he threw out at least 50% of base stealers and then surprised people on offense. Hoh averaged .276 at the plate with 30 RBIs and four homeruns. He earned All-Conference honorable mention. “He was a spark in the batting lineup and did well,” Kane added.

Cash, a sophomore, had a strong arm to compete solidly as a catcher and pitcher, where he collected 64 strikeouts. He also earned All-Conference honorable mention.

Hensler was the No. 3 hitter, playing especially well in the second half of the season. He finished with a .311 batting average. Velazquez was a wall on defense at shortstop, and when the coaches moved Yashion Boswell (Thornton Fractional South) to second base, it solidified the middle infield, Kane said. With Hoh at catcher, Velazquez and Boswell around second and Cardenas in centerfield, they were unstoppable. “The middle defense was outstanding. That’s huge for baseball. And we’ll get a few of those guys back next year,” Kane said.

The Cyclones are saying goodbye to a few starters but with Velazquez, Hoh, Cardenas and Hensler expected to return next year, Kane is feeling good about the competitiveness of his team. He and the assistants have been pounding the pavement to recruit players and are looking forward to next season.

“I’ll work with the guys in the fall and have a much better idea of who can play where. At least for the first game of the fall, I’ll know more about the players,” Kane noted. “I’m excited about next year because we can start right away.”

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