Winning a state title last season has only made the Gibault Hawks baseball hungry for more success in 2014.
“We have worked harder in this preseason than I think we ever have in the past, head coach Andy Skaer said. “These guys are hungry to have another successful season.”
Gibault finished 25-11 last season, winning the IHSA Class 1A state championship, the school’s first ever in the sport. Skaer was named Illinois High School Coaches Association Class 1A Coach of the Year, and ace pitcher Zach Neff was named IHSCA Class 1A Player of the Year.
The Hawks have been bumped up to Class 2A in 2014, but the ultimate goal remains the same.
“We have a lot of guys coming back from a successful season last year,” Skaer said. “However, we are not taking anything for granted.”
In addition to Neff — who compiled an 8-2 record on the mound with a 1.91 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 66 innings pitched — other key returning players from the 2013 state title team are shortstop Wes Degener (.487 batting average in 2013), second baseman Chandler Purcell (.368), outfielder-second baseman Mitch Meyer (.352, 47 runs scored), first baseman-pitcher Auggie Ward (.341, 1-1 on the mound with 2.24 ERA), pitcher-outfielder-catcher Austin Beccue (.304, 6-2 on the mound with 2.22 ERA), infielder-outfielder Jordan McFarland (.294, 4 homeruns), and Alec Skaer.
Also returning from last year’s team is Chase Dugan, who went 3-1 on the mound with a 4.30 ERA in 2013.
In addition to the Monroe County schools, this year’s Gibault baseball team is looking forward to scheduled games against Belleville East and West, Althoff, Alton, CBC, Vianney, Nashville and Mater Dei, among other opponents.
“If anything has changed (from last season), it has been that we are working harder and are more focused,” coach Skaer said.
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