2020 Season Preview: DuPage County Hounds

By: Tom Gorski

Lemont, Ill. - July 1, 2020 - DuPage County would like to forget about last season. The Hounds had their worst season in franchise history as the club went 20-21-1, a fourth place finish and an MCL Semifinals loss.

However, the team is confident this season will be different. The Hounds begin their season later than normal after the start of the year was delayed due to COVID-19.

Hounds Manager Ben Caple, said the club is very fortunate to be playing this year.

“There are not many kids that are fortunate enough to be part of a league this summer,” Caple said.  “Seeing some passion out on the baseball field again is great; most of these kids have been stuck inside for months.  It will be nice to go and watch these boys compete for the game that they love.”

The Hounds will have a new look in 2020 as the team will be adding 20 newcomers to their roster, which includes 11 position players and nine pitchers. 

Kevin Garcia (Chicago, Ill./Concordia University Chicago), Trevor Davis (Danville, Ill. /Eastern Illinois University), Bryce Vincent (Algonquin, Ill./Concordia University Chicago), Ryan Ross (Elmhurst, Ill./Cornell University), Ben Rosengard (Chicago, Ill./University of Chicago), Anthony Fornero (Lemont, Ill./University of Evansville), John San Jule (San Luis Obispo, CA./Columbia University), Aaron Staehely (Sugar Grove, Ill./Iowa Western CC.), Bryce Burton (Sugar Grove, Ill./University of Missouri St. Louis), Westin Stutzman (Goshen, Ind./Concordia University Chicago), James Krick (Downers Grove. Ill./Hillsdale College), Justin Divelbliss (Plainfield, Ill./Creighton University), Ryan Louck (Plainfield, Ill./Marryville University), Nick Bacarella (Woodridge, Ill./Lewis University), Andrew Schimmoler (Oswego, Ill./St. Leo University) and Jordan Smevoll (Dyer, Ind./Webster University) will all play for DuPage County this season.

“Most of us haven’t played in a real baseball game since March, and that’s probably the longest break without baseball any of us have ever experienced,” Staehely said.

However, DuPage brings back some leadership from a year ago and looks to turn things around for the Hounds. The team brings back 11 returners, eight pitchers and three position players.

Sean Blanchard (Plainfield, Ill./Heartland CC.), Andrew Padilla (Burbank, Ill./Webster University), Alex Luka (Downers Grove, Ill./Babson University), Brett Taucher (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Quincy University), Charlie Anderson (Chicago, Ill./Florida Southern University), AJ Golembiewski (Woodstock, Ill./University Illinois-Springfield), Malik Binns (Bollingbrook, Ill./College), Seth Masters (Orland Park, Ill./University Illinois-Springfield), Johnluca Moschetto (LaGrange, Ill./Benedictine University-Mesa), Matt Bottcher (Romeoville, Ill./Illinois-Chicago), Michael Hoes (Woodridge, Ill./Belmont Abbey) and, Nick Zeeveld (Pleasant Prairie, WI./University Illinois-Springfield) all return.

The Hounds also bring in two players that have previous MCL experience. Jackson Dvorak (New Lenox, Ill./Missouri-St. Louis) and Brandon Petkoff (Frankfort, Ill./Texas A&M Corpus Christ) join DuPage after spending the last two seasons with the Northwest Indiana Oilmen. Dvorak is now in his fifth season playing in the MCL as the infielder played for Joliet in 2016 then the Oilmen from 2017-2020. 

Dvorak appeared in 39 games last season for the Oilmen while finishing with an .304 batting average and 37 RBIs. Petkoff played in 34 games last season for NWI and hit .255 to go with 25 runs scored.

Hoes had a short tenure with the Hounds last season as he appeared in three games last season. During his brief stint he hit .333.

“I am mainly just looking forward to being able to play baseball again and to be out on the field,” Hoes said. 

Zeeveld appeared in 30 games for DuPage last season while hitting .306 with four home runs and 22 runs batted in. Taucher had nine appearances for the DuPage a year ago. For the Hounds, Taucher had a 3.08 ERA while throwing 35 innings and had 38 punchouts.

Luka appeared in eight games while throwing 28 ⅓ innings for the Hounds back in 2018 while leading the team with five wins. Luka had a 4.12 ERA on the campaign and struck out 24.

The Hounds will begin the 2020 season on Saturday, July 4, hosting the Joliet Generals. Alex Coil and Thomas Gorski will be on the call on the Generals Broadcast Network, which will be available on Facebook Live.

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