By: Stefan Krajisnik
With the start of the season just days away, the Midwest Collegiate League’s newest team is ready to get the ball rolling.
The Joliet Generals will be taking the spot of the Joliet Admirals as the 2018 season gets underway. At the helm for the Generals will be Joe Hernandez.
Hernandez will bring nearly 40 years of baseball experience to the dugout along with his aggressive coaching style.
“Offensively, we should be very good. That’ll be the biggest strength for us,” Hernandez said. “We’re going to go out there and try to score a lot of runs and get on the board early.”
Despite most players being away from school and away from their collegiate teams, the Generals will still look to compete and come out on top.
“The number one goal is to win. I have a good mix of guys,” Hernandez said. “I have a lot of young arms, so it will be exciting for them. We always want to put ourselves into a situation where we could win as many ballgames as we possibly can.”
With the aforementioned offense, Hernandez will look to balance out a young pitching rotation that could get better as the year progresses.
“If they can step up and throw well, we’re going to win a lot because our offense is going to put up a lot of runs,” Hernandez said. “I’m going to play to our strength.”
Along with the aggressive and winning attitude on the field, Hernandez will look to maintain a bond in the dugout and off the field.
“The attitude is going to be upbeat,” Hernandez said. “Everyone’s going to be working together. We will work together and have a family atmosphere while enjoying the whole summer together.”
The Generals will also look to create a fun environment for fans enjoying games at Wayne L. King Jr. Field.
“We want a fun, winning environment. I want the guys to play loose,” Hernandez said. “It’s going to be a good team; I think our fans will be pleased every time they come out to watch us.”
Although this is time away from their collegiate teams, there will still be expectations set for the players.
“Other teams in our league will have more experienced guys with them, so we have to go out there with confidence,” Hernandez said. “Off the field, they have to carry themselves in a proper manner and be very responsible with their actions.”
Infielders for the team will be Jack Krau (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Brendan Krob (University of Evansville), Ranko Stevanovich (Southern Illinois University), Bryan Maldonado (Triton College), Bryce Cross (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Harrison Hayes (Santa Clara University), Ty Wynerwoski (Benedictine University), Ryan Taylor (College of DuPage) and Scott Wojcik (Aurora University).
In the outfield for the Generals will be Joe Scaffidi (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Matt Rosko (Quincy University), Thomas Larson (Olivet Nazarene University) and Jeremiah Lebron (University of Illinois).
Utility players will be Scott Wojcik (Aurora University) and Freddie March (Elmhurst College).
On the mound for the team, fans can expect to see Logan DeWulf (Upper Iowa University), Mike Wagner (Heartland Community College), Jake Diaz (Moraine Valley Community College), John Colucci (Luther College), Jake Herman (College of DuPage), Mike Santarelli (Benedictine University) and Braeden Wegner (McHenry College).
The Generals will open their season on May 29 at the DuPage County Hounds. The team’s first home game will be May 30 against the Southland Vikings.
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