New “kid” on the diamond


Donald Crocker , Sports Editor

After a 7-9 start to the season, new head coach John McCarthy is looking to help the varsity baseball team finish the year off strong.

McCarthy, who had a 186-79 record during his eight years coaching at Brother Rice, played baseball three years professionally for two independent clubs, the Gary Railcats and the Windy City Thunderbolts.

He is replacing Todd Sipple, after 16 seasons of coaching at H-F.

Junior Carl Braxton transferred from Mount Carmel last year as a sophomore and plays club baseball with Top Tier Baseball.

“It’s funny actually coming from Mount Carmel and him [McCarthy] coming from Brother Rice with them being rivals,” Braxton said. “He’s really helped me adjust and he’s really bonded with the team.”

McCarthy had the luxury of hiring an entire staff for each position group on the field, including White Sox director of youth baseball initiatives Kevin Coe.

A new addition to the baseball program was an offseason weight training which included a personal weight trainer for the entire time.

“It helped us physically and mentally by hiring a weight trainer to push us everyday, in the morning and after school,” senior UIC commit Tyler Schlaffer said.

The team ended last season with a 15-12-1 record, losing to the Providence Celtics against a 10-5 win in the Class 4A Regional semifinal.

“We’re off to a little bit of a slow start but we’re battling every game in and out. These tough challenges are just making us better for the future,” Senior NIU commit Jacob Schroeder said.

Ever since he joined the team, McCarthy brings a different type of energy on a day-to-day basis.

“Intensity. From practice to games, he just gets us pumped up. It’s just a huge difference overall with every aspect,” Schlaffer said.

The team highlight of the season so far was beating the number three school in the state, at the time, Joliet Catholic.

Games like this show the promise the team can reach as the season goes into the second half.

Regardless of this promise, the boys mustered a record of 5-8 since that game.

“It doesn’t look pretty but we faced probably one of the most difficult schedules in the state Illinois,” McCarthy said. “I think we’ve learned a lot about this group. I think we’ve battle adversity and I think we’re a group that’s ready to get better down the stretch when it counts.”

The boys are getting back on track as they have two of their past three games including a big one versus the 14-3 Lincoln-Way East.

On April 12, H-F beat the Griffins 11-1 behind sophomore Will Pauling’s four RBI’s.

Michigan recruit Tre Hondras contributed three hits and two RBI’s.

The Vikings look to spark a run today after school at 4:30 p.m. as they face off against Stagg.