Dallas Till has the coolest baseball name in the Metro Suburban Conference. Fortunately, the first-year RB head coach’s proven record suggests plenty of substance to trump his stylish name.
During a five-year coaching stint at Elmwood Park, Till compiled a record of 109-59, including a Metro Suburban Conference title (2007) and an IHSA regional championship. Last year, he served as an RB varsity assistant coach on the Bulldogs’ (22-13-2) sectional finalist team before replacing LT-departed Mike Ziroli during the off-season.
“Obviously, I have some big shoes to fill with Mike leaving because he did such a great job,” said Till, who guided RB to an 11-10 record during summer baseball. “I’m really excited about the [upcoming] regular season. We have a good group of returning players and promising newcomers.”
All-conference senior shortstop Vito DeRango, who will play college baseball at North Central College, hit .415, scored 40 runs and had a .478 OBP last year. He is a five-tool player with excellent speed and quick hands. Probable leadoff man/centerfielder Tyler Radek stole 13 bases last season and joins DeRango (10 stolen bases) as speedy offensive catalysts.
Junior first baseman Andy Suzuki (hit .313 over the summer) is capable of hitting for average and power, while second baseman Dylan Beketic provides solid defense and an admirable work ethic. Third baseman/team captain Charlie Morrissey is outstanding defensively and a patient hitter.
Right-handers JT Evans and Chris James anchor the Bulldogs’ pitching rotation. Evans, who returns back to RB after attending Wheaton North, features a great change-up and good velocity. James (four wins last year) also throws hard and has great presence on the mound. Lefties David Tortorici (2.58 ERA, 40 IP last year) and TJ Bongiorno give balance to the rotation.
“I expect Chris to have a big season,” Till said. “JT will be a key component of our pitching rotation as well. Both players worked hard in the offseason and it should pay dividends for them this season.”
Returning lettermen Sean Brennan, David Skowronski, Matt Riedl and Brandon Mitchell give Till assorted lineup looks.
Defending champion Illiana Christian, league newcomer Glenbard South and RB should all be in the mix for the Metro Suburban Conference championship.
“The race for the championship should be a tough one,” Till said. “Our goals are to win conference and regional championships and put ourselves in a position to play for a sectional title. The only expectations I have are that my players improve daily, respect the game and mature as people first and student-athletes second.”
Coaching switch: Dallas Till, who served as an assistant under Mike Ziroli last season, is now the head coach at RB.