Sports

Baseball: John DelloStritto providing spark at top of St. Charles East lineup

Saints hoping to reverse recent past against St. Charles North

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Photo courtesy of St. Charles East Athletics

St. Charles East shortstop John DelloStritto is a bit of a sparkplug at the top of the lineup.

DelloStritto has 38 hits in 27 games, which leads the Saints.

He had no idea, though.

"It's just 'show up'," DelloStritto said after the first game of the St. Charles North-St. Charles East crosstown series on Monday was postponed due to rain. "As long as I produce and get runs for the team, that's all that matters."

While this season has generally been DelloStritto's best offensively, the past two weeks have left some to be desired defensively. He has, though, been taking grounders after practice and games to get those areas corrected.

"There was a week stretch where, I don't know if it was a mental thing, but I wasn' t fielding the ball well," DelloStritto said of the stretch against Larkin and South Elgin. "There's usually one week per year where that happens to me, so I know it's bound to happen at some point. I just have to practice more, take more reps and get it out of the way."

From a leadership standpoint, he can bring both vocal direction and also let his play do some of the talking for him.

"It's so nice every game to know that at least one time a game he's going to get on base and do something with his speed," East assistant coach Mark Foulkes said. "[He's] such a smart base runner, it gives our offense usually in those first two-three innings a chance to put up some runs."

DelloStritto, a three-year varsity player, is heading to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for college. Wisconsin does not have an official baseball program, but it has a competitive program that he may pursue.

Heading into this week's series against North, East has lost nine consecutive regular season games to the rival North Stars.

DelloStritto need not be reminded.

"Everybody knows that we haven't had the best past against them the last few years, so it definitely brings the energy for us," DelloStritto said. "It's a new year, obviously...going into the season, everybody knows that they're good. We know we're good. This past week, we've really turned it up."

East is currently on a six-game win streak.

"We really want to beat them," DelloStritto said. "We have good momentum going into this series and going into the playoffs which is exciting for us. I'm super excited going into the playoffs."

A number of teammates are standing out to DelloStritto, including pitcher Brett Brueske, second baseman Clay Conn and freshman right fielder Kyle Hayes.

Hayes, who came up to varsity after playing five games on the sophomore level, has provided a noticeable punch in the middle of the Saints lineup.

"He's definitely a spark," DelloStritto said of Hayes. "We didn't really have a guy in the middle of the order with power...when he came up, against Geneva where he hit those two home runs, since then it's been that spark that we needed."