GALESBURG — Unlike Major League Baseball, the Carl Sandburg College baseball team will be starting its regular season on time.
The Chargers, who went 25-32 overall and 12-6 in the Arrowhead Conference a year ago, kick off a daunting spring schedule with a trip this weekend to the southern portion of the state. Sandburg opens at John A. Logan at 1:30 p.m. Friday, will take on Southeastern Illinois at noon Saturday in a doubleheader and closes the weekend at 10:30 a.m. Sunday against Kankakee in Carterville.
Out of the 56 contests on their schedule, the Chargers will play 17 against teams ranked or receiving votes in this week’s NJCAA rankings and 25 against schools ranked or among the next five out in the most recent rankings by The JUCO Baseball Blog.
Because of COVID-19 eligibility rules, the Chargers’ roster does not include a single player in their final year of eligibility with the team. Sandburg’s first home game is scheduled for 1 p.m. March 12 against Illinois Central. The Chargers begin their Arrowhead Conference schedule March 26 at Sauk Valley.
Cam Scott (Mapleton, Ill./Illini Bluffs), 3B/RHP
2021 All-Arrowhead Conference selection as pitcher and hitter
Batted .353/.439/.611 last season, finishing second on team with 1.050 OPS
Hit nine home runs, drove in team-high 45 runs and stole 16 bases in 17 attempts
Struck out 48 batters in 47.2 innings on the mound
Committed to play next season at NCAA Division II Ashland
Silas Israel (Tremont, Ill./Tremont), LHP
2021 All-Arrowhead Conference selection
Led Chargers with 63.2 innings pitched and 86 strikeouts while going 5-3 with a 4.18 ERA in 14 appearances (11 starts)
Recorded three double-digit strikeout games, including season-high 12 against DuPage
Caileb Johnson (Brimfield, Ill./Brimfield), 1B/OF
Played in just 12 games in 2021 after breaking hamate bone in season opener
Finished with two homers and five RBIs in 39 plate appearances
Ashton Johnson (Brimfield, Ill./Brimfield), SS
Figures to play key role at top of Chargers’ lineup
Hit .344/.427/.607 with seven home runs, 34 RBIs and 40 runs scored in 54 games last season
Stole 14 bases in 15 attempts
Fourth-year Chargers coach Josh Foreman: “We have a large true freshman class with a good amount of talent. I’m excited to see how they adapt to college baseball and (for some) new positions. They should be fun to watch and development as the season progresses.”
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUR TEAM THIS SEASON?
“Our expectations are always high. We expect to compete in the Arrowhead Conference, and we expect to be competitive in our region. How we actually finish in the standings will depend on if this group can put it all together.”
GAMES TO WATCH
“I think any game we play will be fun to watch. The talent level and athleticism of many of our guys gives them the opportunity to do some exciting things on any given day. Plus, almost half of our schedule is against ranked teams, so there’s a good chance you’ll see good baseball almost any time out.”
THIS WILL BE A SUCCESSFUL SEASON IF ...
“… this group continues to improve as the season progresses and doesn’t get caught up in results (good or bad) early in the season.”