Prep Baseball Report

Weekly Diamond Notes

By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer

Carrollton's Nathan Walker was dubbed the PBR Illinois Player of the Week on Wednesday for the clutch performance he had at the end of April to help the Hawks earn them the title of Western Illinois Valley Conference South champs. In the team's two biggest games against Calhoun, Walker went 8-for-9 and drove in six runs. 

Each week, we’ll acknowledge some of the best performers who fell just short of being named the Player of the Week. Let’s take a look at 2018’s latest edition of Diamond Notes in the section below. There was tons of action last week which made for some memorable performances. Here’s a look at some of the most notable.

Week 6 Performances

Jason Hodges, OF, Marist, 2019
This is the second consecutive week that Hodges, the No. 1-ranked outfielder in Illinois’ junior class, has earned a place on Weekly Diamond Notes. He followed up last week’s two-homer, 10-RBI performance with maybe an even better line this week. Hodges went 7-for-13 with five extra-base hits, including three doubles, a triple, and another home run. He drove in an absurd 13 runs for the Redhawks, too, and scored seven times. After a 13-0 loss to Benet Academy on last Monday, Marist battled back to beat Benet on Tuesday and ripped off three more wins including a doubleheader sweep of Saint Viator on Saturday -- Hodges' big bat was critical. 

Mac Camardo, 1B, Buffalo Grove, 2018
The hulking 6-foot-6 first baseman from Buffalo Grove had a powerful week at the plate that helped the Bison surge to a 6-0 week. In Buffalo Grove’s six games last week, Camardo went 8-for-12 with seven walks and was plunked by five pitches, translating to an on-base percentage of .833, reaching base 20 times in 24 plate appearances. Those eight hits were comprised of two doubles and two home runs, leading to 10 RBIs. Two of those hits were of the game-winning variety, too; one over Elk Grove and the other over Stevenson. Against the Patriots, Camardo slugged a two-run homer to give them the lead and then sealed the deal with a two-run double later in the game. Buffalo Grove’s bopper has an OPS of 1.561 this season and it’s helped the program to a 13-game win streak.

Jacob Marti, OF, Normal West, 2018 
Marti, the No. 11-ranked outfielder in the 2018 Illinois class, lifted Normal West to four wins in six games last week, including a two-homer day against Danville where he drove in five runs. In total, Marti went 9-for-16 and slugged four homers, two doubles, walked five times, and drove in 10 runs. He also failed to strike out all week long. After an 0-4 start to the spring, Normal West is catching some momentum. Marti's helped get back over .500, as the Wildcats are 14-10 now.

Miles Powell, RHP, Deerfield, 2018
Powell was a huge reason why Deerfield was able to come away with the win over ranked New Trier this past Saturday. The senior righty tossed six innings and allowed just one run on two hits, two walks, and he struck out nine. He’s 3-0 this season and a clutch 2-0 in conference play.

Stephen Sewruk, LHP/1B, Yorkville, 2018
On April 23, Sewruk completely shutdown DeKalb by no-hitting them, striking out 11 in seven innings of work. He only lost the perfect game on a solitary walk in the 7th. Sewruk is also a mainstay in the lineup for Yorkville. He was 6-for-13 last week from the two-hole, too.

Matt Ozanic, C/RHP, Leyden, 2018
Ozanic, Leyden’s starting catcher, was on fire at the plate last week. He went 10-for-16 with a pair of doubles and four RBIs. The senior was also called upon to close two games for Leyden. In the 4.1 innings pitched last week, Ozanic recorded two saves and allowed just two hits, no runs, and struck out three.

Ethan Hill, INF, Freeport, 2019
Hill has been one of Freeport’s most important offensive weapons this season and that stood true this past week. The junior infielder went 9-for-16 at the plate with a double, four RBIs, and seven runs scored. That includes a 5-for-5 day at Rockford Jefferson where Hill drove in three runs from the leadoff spot. He was also 4-for-5 in stolen bases last week, too.

Austin Delgado, OF/RHP, Antioch, 2018
Delgado had an impressive week both at the plate and on the mound for the Sequoits, carrying his team to three wins. The two-way senior was 7-for-12 with three doubles and seven RBIs from the batter’s box. He made two five-inning appearances on the mound: one start against Wauconda and a clutch relief appearance against Grayslake Central that handed the Rams their first loss of the season. In his start against the Bulldogs, Delgado did not allow a run in five innings and gave up just three hits and no walks while he struck out four. Against the Rams, Delgado entered the game with his team down 4-1 in the 3rd. He threw five strong innings and allowed only one run on two hits, no walks, and he struck out six.

Jacob Overbeck, RHP/INF, Morris, 2019
Morris played four games last week and Overbeck was a central figure in all of them. The two-way junior was 10-for-15 with two doubles, six runs, and five RBIs. In Morris’ three games last week with Sycamore, Overbeck threw a complete game, allowing just one run in seven innings, striking out eight in the process. In their third game, he collected four hits, including two doubles and four RBIs.

Danny Borgstrom, SS/RHP, Morris, 2018
Borgstrom, an Evansville commit, is the second player from Morris to earn a spot on this edition of Weekly Diamond Notes. On April 21, Borgstrom tallied three hits, including the walk-off winner against Pontiac. In total, the senior was 13-for-22 last week and he drove in eight runs and scored eight times. He recorded two RBIs in four of the five games to energize the offense. Borgstrom was also the winning pitcher in their third game against Sycamore; he allowed just three runs in five innings and struck out seven.

Cade Sullivan, 3B/1B, Metea Valley, 2020
Sullivan had an enormously productive week for Metea Valley, capped off by a walk-off grand slam against Waubonsie Valley on April 24. All in all, the sophomore slugger was 14-for-25 and notched a whopping 13 RBIs on the week. He also walked five times and tallied five doubles.

Cale Thompson, RHP/C, Brimfield, 2018
The senior Thompson had an electric week for Brimfield at the plate. He went 9-for-14 with five doubles, a homer, and drove in seven runs. The Indians were 4-1 last week, thanks in part to Thompson’s efforts on offense.

Matt Grubb, RHP/2B, Lakes Community, 2018
Lakes went 5-1 last week, including two wins over a quality Grant team, and Matt Grubb was at the center of the action. At the plate, the Benedictine commit was 8-for-14 with a homer and 12 RBIs -- he also scored four runs and walked four times. On the mound, he took a hard-luck loss to Wauconda on Monday in a game where he threw seven full innings, struck out five, and walked only one -- the two runs he allowed in the second accounted for all of the game’s scoring.

Ben Arnold, OF, Libertyville, 2018
Libertyville ended the last full week of April with a bang, enjoying a three-game sweep of Stevenson as well as a win over Warren Township. The Wildcats were able to continue their excellent run this spring because of the likes of Ben Arnold and his bat. The senior outfielder was 7-for-15 last week with a homer, four RBIs, and two stolen bases. He churned Libertyville’s offense when they needed it most.

Riley Gowens, RHP, Libertyville, 2018
Gowens is a familiar name on lists like this. The Illinois commit, has now been a feature on three consecutive Weekly Diamond Notes. His performance this past week looks a lot like the ones from the previous two weeks: dominant. He shut out Stevenson on April 23, tossing 6.1 innings, allowing just two hits, one walk, and he struck out 14 Patriots.

Jon Moore, RHP, Pittsfield, 2018
Moore threw a five-inning perfect game last Saturday for the Saukees, helping Pittsfield down West Central and earn their ninth win in the process. Moore struck out the first six batters he faced, and finished the game punching out 11 of the 15 batters he squared off against. Moore struck out the first batter he faced in the 5th and got back-to-back ground ball outs to seal the feat.

Cameron Bufford, 3B, Marian Catholic, 2019
Marian Catholic relies on their junior third baseman to be a steady force in their lineup and on defense and he showed that again this past week. He was 7-for-14 last week with three doubles, a triple, and a grand slam. He stole five bases and scored six times, too. On defense, he had 12 assists from the hot corner without making an error. His reliable bat and glove have been important to the Spartans all season long.

Antoine Kelly, LHP, Maine East, 2018
Maine East’s lefty ace pitched a complete game shutout against rivals Maine South last Saturday. He allowed just one hit, one walk, and he struck out 17 batters in the overwhelming victory. Kelly’s allowed just two runs in 23 innings this season and has struck out 56 batters over that time. He’ll be playing next season at Central Arizona JC.

Eric Steiner, RHP/OF, Harlem, 2019
Steiner was a first team all-conference selection as a sophomore last season and is well on his way to the honor again. The junior won two starts for the Huskies last week, throwing complete games each time out. He scattered five hits, no walks, and struck out 12 in dominant fashion against Belvidere North. In the second game, against Belvidere, he allowed two unearned runs in six innings on just two hits, no walks, and he struck out 11 that time. Steiner has not walked a batter this spring in 29 innings and has struck out 30 in that span. He’s also maintaining a miniscule sub-1.00 ERA (0.724).