March 2017:

Section: Sports

In 2016, the Trojans showed promise and that they could compete with the top teams in the state. During the regular season, the Trojans finished 15-19. Including playoffs, they finished with an overall record of 17-19, along with a 10-11 record in conference play. DGN knocked off number-two ranked Hinsdale South in their second round regional playoff game before losing to Plainfield East in the regional championship 7-3.

Heading into the new season, the Trojans hope to build off last year’s playoff appearance and take another step in the right direction towards regional title contention. Some of the returning seniors include: outfielder Dave Guiliano (Cornell College), infielder and pitcher Nick Taviani (Upper Iowa), and third baseman Nolan Young (St. Ambrose) among others.

With senior first baseman and pitcher James Krick (Hillsdale) out for the season with an ACL injury, and senior third baseman Matt King no longer attending DGN, the Trojans hope to rely on new talent to help them stay afloat in an ultra-competitive West Suburban Silver Conference race – which Oak Park River Forest won in 2016. Incoming varsity pitcher junior Nick Bacarella should already add to a deep pitching rotation this season. The Trojans are seeking their first conference championship since 2010.

Assistant coach Andrew Himes believes that former first baseman and catcher, 2016 graduate Ryan Cantlin, will be a big loss for DGN heading into the new season. However, he is confident that he has the talent to fill the primary positions.

“Ryan was a leader, our number one starting pitcher, and was a strong defensive presence at first base. That is a lot of experience on the mound and at first we will be losing. We have guys that have the ability to step up and do the job, but time will tell,” Himes said.

Himes feels that the Trojans have potential this season and is looking forward to the challenge of contending for a regional championship again.

“Last year, we saw in the playoffs we could compete with the top teams in the state. Our expectation every year is to compete with anyone we play,” Himes said.

Junior Jack Carr is looking forward to another season and adapting to varsity baseball with new teammates.

“The seniors are some of the best baseball players I’ve met. As juniors coming up to join the seniors, it’s a lot of learning and the seniors do a great job teaching us. The seniors have shoes to fill, and the juniors and I are doing a great job to fill those shoes,” Carr said.

Despite Oak Park River Forest’s recent run of dominance, Carr believes that the Trojans have a shot to contend for a conference title.

“Oak Park is an excellent program and they have great success every year, but I believe that our team can really push for conference title,” Carr said.

Senior Connor Dennison loves the game of baseball and wants to leave a legacy at DGN after he graduates for how he played and for his leadership qualities.

“When I graduate, I want to be known as the guy who was a grinder but still had fun. I want to be known as the guy that always came in early to go over film of how I was pitching. In addition, I want to maintain my fun personality with the boys on and off the field,” Dennison said.

Head coach Chad Isaacson is a former DGN alum and has been coaching at the varsity level since 1999. He is looking forward to another season and to help his players become better leaders and people.

“I am excited for each and every year. I enjoy going into the season and working with our players to help them improve both on and off of the field. Our job is to help provide them with the tools to have success to become better players and better people,” Isaacson said.

Isaacson believes Oak Park River Forest and Lyons Township will be near the top of the conference yet again in 2017, and the Trojans are ready for the challenge.

“OPRF and Lyons Township are the two most common opponents on top of our conference standings. These are two of the best public high school teams in the state of Illinois year in and year out. Both of those teams will be in the conversation again this year, but there is a lot of talent throughout the entire conference schedule,” Isaacson said.

The Trojans will open their season with a road contest against Plainfield Central on March 20 with the first pitch beginning at 4:30 p.m.