Expectations are sky-high for the Centennial baseball team this year following a sectional semifinal defeat to Chatham Glenwood last year. For the Chargers, they return six position starters and all but one pitcher from the 2013 team.
Two big holes they will need to fill are that of pitcher Jeff Lavin who is now pitching out the bullpen at Parkland and catcher Grey Schultz who moved on to play at Illinois. Two players looking to fill that void are sophomores Mikey Namoff and Luke Smith.
The Chargers will look to use their experience to their advantage this year led by all-conference first team players shortstop Dylan Grady and centerfielder Zach Parks. Returning all-conference honorable mention players include pitcher Jeff Lindgren, and leftfielder/pitcher Anthony Martin.
After a 7-5 win over Effingham St. Anthony to start off the year, the Charger baseball team traveled down to Fort Pierce, Florida for their annual Spring Training trip where they went 3-2 against teams from all over the country. They hope those games against very stiff competition have helped prepare them for the rest of the year. Jeff Lindgren says the trip is just as much a bonding experience as it is a need for more games: “We learn so much about each other and our team down there. We use the tough teams we play [in Florida] to prepare us for all the amazing teams we play back at home.”
The team’s schedule starts immediately, as the team’s first game back from Florida is a home game against the News-Gazette’s preseason number one team St. Joseph-Ogden. The Chargers finish up their year against one of the best baseball conferences in the state of Illinois which includes two of Prep Baseball Report’s top ranked teams in the preseason in Bloomington (56) and Normal West (33).
Notable Centennial baseball games this season:
Wednesday, April 2: Home vs. St Joe-Ogden at 5:30
Saturday, April 12: Home vs. Mahomet at 2:00
Thursday, April 17: Home vs. Urbana at 4:30
Tuesday, April 22: Home vs. Central at 6:30
Thursday, April 24: Away vs. Central at 4:30
Thursday, May 8: Home vs. Urbana at 6:30
Thursday, May 22: Senior Night at home vs. Mattoon at 4:30