By Marty Farmer
The accolades have been as impressive as they are consistent around the Nazareth Academy baseball program. Over the past eight years, the Roadrunners have finished among the top four in the state playoffs, including their third-place showing in Class 3A last season.
In 2018, head coach Lee Milano (451-246 career record) was inducted into the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Fresh off a 24-win campaign in 2018, Nazareth has the potential to win big again this season.
"This team has a nice mix of veteran leaders and youth," Milano said. "We have a lot of options on the mound and we possess excellent team speed. The key is to gain valuable experience before we enter a demanding conference schedule."
Senior pitcher Michael Prosecky headlines a terrific pitching staff. The 6-foot-4 left-hander is a Louisville commit and of the top pitchers in the Midwest.
"Michael topped out at 94 miles per hour last summer," Milano said. "When Michael is on, there are very few high school batters that will hit him."
Junior Teddy Olander and seniors Troy Siranovic and Jack Krug are other notable starting pitchers. They all play the outfield as well.
Three-year varsity starter Andrew McKenna will handle the pitching staff. The senior catcher provides power from the left side in the lineup. He will play college baseball at Holy Cross.
Junior first baseman/catcher Breven Reifsteck, senior second baseman Cole Vercelli and senior infielder Zach Carmignani and senior outfielder Michael Milano are all consistent contributors with experience. Vercelli will play at Carthage College next year while Carmignani and Krug are headed to Triton for college baseball.
"Breven had a solid bat and is a good defender," Milano said. "Zach can play anywhere on the field and bat anywhere in the lineup. He's a great team player. Michael is always leading by example. He's our 'Mr. Hustle' and a mainstay in the outfielder."
Returning from an injury last season, senior outfielder Braden Schneider is a welcomed addition, along with promising sophomore infielders/pitchers Ryan Smith and Wylder Guido.
Nazareth tied Glenbrook North in its season opener. Prosecky, Olander and Guido combined to strike out nine over six innings. Olander also had the key hit, a 2-run single in the fourth that tied the game at 2-2. The game was suspended after six innings because of darkness.