Glenbrook North High School baseball coach Dominic Savino has his side off to a 5-1 start in the young season. Pinpointing the reasons for the early success is easy for him and his players.
“It's simple for us, being able to throw strikes consistently from the mound, make the routine play on defense and consistently put the ball in play at the plate,” Savino said. “Those are the three things right now and if you asked our players (they would tell you that).”
He has established three starting pitchers. A solid blueprint of the effort he would like to see every game was Nathan Mirochnick's complete game, 11 strikeouts, two allowed hits and zero earned runs in an early-season outing against Lane Tech in Chicago.
“He was getting ahead of hitters, his ability to get ahead of hitters is the reason why he was able to throw a complete game,” Savino said. “The pitch count was not high. That is a credit to him.”
He did, however, commit a balk with a runner on third for the Indians' lone run of the game.
This was a simple mental error, avoided by lining up his feet with home when he is on the mound.
Savino said there are also physical errors that his players sometimes make. The team didn't have any errors against Lane after having eight in the first four games.
Savino wants his team to average one or less per game in order to compete at an elite high-school level.
“I think it is a matter of knowing how to handle it when it does occur,” Savino said. “Errors are going to occur in the game of baseball. We have a prepared response that we go to, so that they have something to fall back on when things go wrong.”
Being able to have the poise to avoid repeated mistakes is the mark of a good field player.
“So much of this game is your ability to deal with adversity,” Savino said. “If you have a confident response to that adversity, you have a chance at being successful moving forward. That's what it is about, can you stay in the present moment. Don't worry about the future, try to dominate the present.”
Lastly, the lineup on paper needs the most work.
The Spartans are averaging 4.6 runs through five games, with an outlier of 19 against Von Steuben in five innings.
Against Lane, the team had solid base running after getting on base 11 times from walks, but managed just four hits, and repeatedly struggled with runners in scoring position.
“(The lineup) will be dramatically different even a week from now or a month from now, compared to where we started,” Savino said.
The first four batters went a combined 2-for-12.
“I think finding the guys who have earned it whether that is through performance in a game or improving in practice,” Savino said. “Guys are going to earn their spots. I think time will tell who has earned it.”