No. 2 Lincoln-Way North loaded for title run

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

Quietly, No. 2 Lincoln-Way North has risen to one of the most consistent winning programs in the state. Not bad for a relatively new program. Last year, Lincoln-Way North was in a mainstay in the top 10 for the second half of the season, rising to No. 1 for a stint. But its bid to become summer and spring state champions in the same year ended against Marist in the sectional finals.

Hard to believe, but the Phoenix should be significantly better than last year’s 33-6 club. No team in the state features the quality pitching depth as the Phoenix, plus eight starters return in the field. Now mix in St. Laurence transfer Kevin Smith (8-1, 1.45 ERA; .368 BA, 4 HR, 30 RBI), a RHP/3B who earned PBR second-team All-State honors as a junior, and you have the makings of a dominant state championship club.

Smith, who’s signed at Creighton, is a two-way impact player. But he likely won’t be the team’s No. 1 pitcher. That’s because Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville commit RHP Mike Miller (9-1, 1.26 ERA, 81 Ks, 72 IP) returns after earning PBR third-team All-State honors as a junior. Joining Miller and Smith on the mound is sophomore LHP Kyle Ostrowski, who is already verbally committed to Purdue. Ostrowski is one of the top-ranked Class of 2015 prospects in Illinois. Junior LHP Brett King, junior RHP Joey Fredrickson and junior OF/RHP Eric Eggert provide further depth.

Positionally, the Phoenix are just as talented. They are extremely strong up the middle, led by senior SS Josh Handzik (St. Joseph’s College) and senior C Ryan Pellack. Senior CF Corey Krupske (Oakton CC) is a top-level defensive outfielder who provides speed at the top of the lineup. Senior 1B Reid Hero also returns. In all, coach Joe Skarbek arguably has the most talented club from top to bottom in the state. And if the team comes together, then the Phoenix could be bringing the Class 4A state championship back to Frankfort.

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