Updated Team Rankings and Week in Review

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

Consistent rain and cold once again prevented most teams from playing a full schedule last week. On the bright side, at least there was no snow. Nevertheless, games were played, which meant teams won and lost, which ultimately impacted the statewide rankings.

A recap of the week that was:

+ For the third straight week, Lincoln-Way North is the top-ranked team in Illinois. The Phoenix are not only a perfect 11-0, but they have many quality wins already, having beaten preseason No. 1 Lyons Township and No. 5 Sandburg, to name a few. Incidentally, senior RHP Mike Miller (SIU-Edwardsville recruit) pitched complete-game shutouts in both the Lyons Township and Sandburg games.

+ No. 2 Mundelein, unquestionably the biggest surprise of the season, improved to 13-0. The secret to the Mustangs’ success? Pitchers throw strikes and their defense makes plays. Without the benefit of a power arm, the Mustangs pitch to contact and induce a lot of groundballs.  Coach Todd Parola, who prefers to fly his teams under the radar, offered an impressive statistic: His middle infield of shortstop Will Farmer (Southern Illinois) and second baseman Derek Parola had committed only one error through the first 12 games of the season. The Mustangs’ plight, however, was made a bit more difficult when it lost their No. 2 pitcher, right-hander Eric Davis, with a broken foot. Davis broke his foot during pregame. Senior RHP Mitch Schulewitz, a UIC recruit, is the team’s ace. Schulewitz missed the majority of last season with a back injury.

+ No. 3 St. Rita (15-2) keeps on rolling behind its ace, junior LHP Mike Costanzo, an Austin Peay recruit. Constanzo improved to 6-0 after the left-hander tossed two complete-game victories last week. Chicago Catholic Blue play begins on Saturday.

+ No. 4 Rock Island Alleman improved to 12-0 after the Pioneers swept rival Rock Island on Saturday. The Guru Drake Skleba was on hand to see RHP Cody Sedlock (Illinos recruit) and LHP Tanner Ledezma limit Rock Island to five hits in two games. Alleman, which was ranked No. 15 in the preseason, looks to be the favorite to win the Class 2A title after falling in the championship game last year to Normal U-High.

+ No. 5 Sandburg (9-2) split a doubleheader with No. 21 Joliet West on Saturday. The Eagles’ other loss was to No. 1 Lincoln-Way North. Senior SS Austin Cangelosi (Indiana recruit) is swinging a hot bat for the Eagles.

+ No. 6 Lockport (9-3) is on quite a roll. The Porters, who lost in the championship game of the WJOL Area Invite tournament, mercy-ruled Minooka on Saturday. They also hammered No. 7 St. Laurence last Saturday. Lockport, No. 5 Sandburg and No. 21 Joliet West all compete in the Southwest Suburban Blue Conference.

+ No. 7 St. Laurence (10-3) went unbeaten last week. The Vikings have a big Chicago Catholic Blue matchup at No. 9 Providence on Saturday.

+ No. 8 Huntley remained perfect at 10-0. The Red Raiders have a potent offense behind OF Colin Lyman (Louisville), 3B Bryce Only (Nebraska) and junior catcher Mark Skonieczny (Illinois).

+ No. 10 Glenbrook South (10-1) is still playing extremely well for coach Dave Lindley, who’s in his second stint at the helm.

+ No. 11 Mount Carmel (13-3) dropped a close game to upstart Lincoln-Way East (7-2), which narrowly missed inclusion in the Top 25 power rankings this week. Junior LHP Richard Fordon (3-0) pitched a two-hit complete game on Sunday in the Caravan’s 13-3 five-inning victory over St. Ignatius.

+ No. 12 Jacobs (9-1) is proving that its run in the summer state tournament was no fluke.

+ No. 16 Normal West (12-3) is starting to play at the level which we thought when we ranked it No. 5 in the preseason. The Wildcats have won six straight, which includes victories over No. 17 Metamora and powerhouse programs Chatham Glenwood and O’Fallon. During the streak, the Wildcats have outscored their opponents 66-22.

+ No. 19 Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (9-2) is also getting hot. SHG has a big two-game series this week against Central State 8 rival Glenwood on Tuesday and Wednesday.

+ No. 21 Joliet West (8-3) moves into the top 25 after its doubleheader split with Sandburg. Joliet West also knocked off Lincoln-Way West, among others. The team is especially strong when RHP Jake Herron (John A. Logan JC) is on the mound.

+ No. 23 Batavia (11-1), No. 24 Plainfield South (9-2) and No. 25 Downers Grove North (7-2) all make their first appearances in the top 25.

+ Dropping out of the top 25: Pleasant Plains, Lyons Township, Downers Grove South, Libertyville and Prairie Ridge.

+ Narrowly missing top 25 inclusion: Cary Grove (10-2), Lincoln-Way East (7-2), Evanston (11-3).

CLICK HERE to view the top 25 Power Rankings

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