By Mike Stanford, editor-in-chief
Heading into the post-season, boys’ baseball had something to prove.
“We knew that we were overlooked going into the year,” junior Grant Zellmer said. “We were supposed to be a .500 team, nothing special. Every team always didn’t think that we were going to be as good as we were. When the postseason came in, we were all going to lock in and play our best baseball.”
With this in mind, the team’s goal was to win a regional championship, according to head coach Ross Giusti. They did so by defeating Glenbrook North before falling to Warren 2-1 in the sectional semifinals June 1.
According to Giusti, the biggest hurdle the team had to clear was the first game, which they did by defeating Lake Zurich 6-3.
“After you get out of the gate, it takes some of the pressure off and allows you to perform even a little bit better,” Giusti said.
This momentum carried over to the regional championship, and Zellmer got the team going early with a three-run homer in the first inning. This was important not only for the team but also for Zellmer.
“I was just on the clouds,” Zellmer said. “That was an awesome feeling, and I loved being able to pick up my team in that kind of game.”
Zellmer’s three-run blast was the only offense the team had for the rest f the game, but it was all the team needed, thanks sophomore pitcher Ryan Howe. Howe threw a no-hitter, allowing the Knights to clinch the regional.
“When we made that last out at Glenbrook North in the regional game, that was just a feeling I’ll never forget for the rest of my life,” Zellmer said. “It was awesome knowing that we came together as a team and won a huge regional, something that hadn’t been done for a long time at Prospect.”
While the outcome of the next game against Warren did not come out in the team’s favor, Giusti and Zellmer feel the season ended on the right note.
“We had nothing to lose,” Giusti said. “Even though we lost, it was a good way to go out because they left nothing on the table. … As sad as it is to see the seniors go, they left everything on good terms.”
Giusti believes the postseason, like the regular season, was defined by senior leadership. However, the team will be starting over again in that department when it loses seniors Trevor Enquist, Ryan Molini, Jacob Arndt, Brendan O’Brien, Luke Wrede, Nick Coops, Pasquale Atteo and Travis Gates.
Zellmer, for one, believes the team is ready for the challenge
“This is going to be some crazy experience for the juniors and sophomores on this team,” Zellmer said. “Coming back next year knowing that we can do this and we have it under our belts is going to be a huge advantage.