New Trier pitching coach Scott Klipowicz got a preview of his future spring players this summer while he coached the New Trier summer league team, which was comprised of incoming juniors.
He predicted there will be tough competition when those Trevians start battling for spring roster spots. The difference, Klipowicz noted, between earning a job and getting cut may come down to versatility.
“We tell (the players) to keep their options open,” Klipowicz said. “We tell them, ‘Maybe try outfield; we may have a spot open out there next year. Don’t settle on one spot.’
“The juniors who are now seniors have been playing their positions their whole life, so we let them know that.”
Klipowicz was most impressed by his team’s defense up the middle, citing second base and shortstop as strength. Yet there were some deficiencies that Klipowicz and his staff will need to fix before the varsity takes the field for head coach Mike Napoleon in the spring.
“One of the things we had to overcome this summer was learning to hit with the wood bats. They did a good job, but it was a bit of an adjustment for us,” Klipowicz said.
The Trevians ended their summer season last month with a 14-3 loss to Glenbrook North in the first round of the Illinois Baseball Coaches Association tournament. The early exit, however, didn’t skew Klipowicz perception of New Trier’s up-and-coming players.
“It was a good group of guys who wanted to work hard, and love baseball,” Klipowicz said, “I know they played four games a week with us, and they were playing three or four on a weekend. These guys were willing to work at it and what I took out of it is that they all wanted to get better.”
Klipowicz believes the players are dedicated to improving.
“They have a lot of work ahead of them, but these guys are looking forward to it to try and make varsity next year,” Klipowicz said.