Gaels forge ahead
The St. Edmond baseball team takes to the field in 2013 minus three staples from a season ago.
Nick Clark, Neil Flattery and Nate Kolacia were a small group of seniors, but they left a lasting impression, helping the Gaels win throughout their careers.
Returning starters Aaron Chalstrom, David Flattery, Tommy Setterdahl, Hank Crimmins, Cal Coleman, Matthew Bocken and Ryan Szalat are back to bridge the gap, along with a handful of freshmen that suited up a year ago.
“We need some leadership to establish itself,” SEHS head coach Joe Shanks said. “Whether that is a senior, a freshmen or even an eighth-grader is irrelevant. If you are going to make plays and help us win ballgames, you are going to see the field.”
St. Edmond was victorious 22 times a season ago, but were ousted early in the postseason. The Gaels have won over 50 games at Rogers Park since the 2008 season, including a state title in ’09.
Shanks will be assisted by Mike Szalat and Gerry Miller this year.
For the Gaels, plenty of new faces will be on the hill this summer. Neil Flattery and Clark threw almost 100 innings a season ago, winning 10 times and recording 97 strikeouts.
Crimmins, a junior, started four games a year ago and pitched 40-plus innings, going 5-2 with 38 strikeouts and a 2.41 earned run average.
“Hank will be our No. 1,” Shanks said. “He’s a strong kid and embraces the challenge of pitching.”
Bocken, a sophomore, and ninth-graders Robert Flattery and Jason Setterdahl are also expected to see mound time.
“We are still trying to sort things out in terms of a rotation, but I feel like we have plenty of options,” Shanks said. “Robert looked great (Tuesday night vs. Prairie Valley), while Jason saw a couple of innings last year.
“Matthew is going to play all around the diamond for us, and that includes pitching. He’s going to be a strong asset.”
David Flattery pitched just 26 innings last year, as arm troubles kept him from tossing more. The Gaels could be without him again for the majority of this year.
“We worked around it last season, and will probably do so again (this time around),” Shanks said. “We need David’s bat in our lineup and his leadership in the field.”
Setterdahl returns at first base, and could see some time at third as well. The senior, who will attend Buena Vista University in the fall, batted .429 last year with 31 RBI and eight doubles. He also drew a team-high 25 walks.
“Tommy dedicated himself to getting better in baseball and it shows,” Shanks said. “He worked to turn himself into a better athlete physically and mentally.”
Szalat has played second early in the year, and could also see time at catcher and shortstop. He drew seven walks as a freshman and had eight hits and eight runs scored.
Flattery and Chalstrom will be interchangeable at shortstop and third base, while Bocken also fills in around the horn. Flattery hit a team-best .554 with a .747 slugging percentage, 35 RBI, two homers, eight doubles and 24 runs scored in 26 games.
Chalstrom will miss the first week of the season due to qualifying for the state tennis tournament. He hit .321 with 17 RBI and six doubles last year.
“Aaron has gone above and beyond what was expected of him in making it to baseball as much as he can while still focusing on tennis,” Shanks said. “I think when you have kids like Aaron and David who constantly push themselves in as many sports as possible, it only helps every program.
“Ryan’s the same way, as he is constantly working to improve his game and his skills.”
Reiling will split time with Bocken and even Szalat at catcher.
Crimmins is the lone regular back to patrol the grass, as Neil Flattery and Kolacia covered much of the ground last year.
He batted .427 with 22 RBI and a pair of homers as a 10th-grader, while also belting nine doubles.
Jason Setterdahl and Coleman have occupied the corner outfield spots, while Robert Flattery is “a young kid but has great instincts and can help us in center.”
“We are going to have some rough spots with the youth we have,” Shanks added. “But these kids all love baseball and enjoy the game and being around each other. I feel like we can really build something with these kids.”
Coleman had 13 hits and 12 runs last year in 28 games.