Baseball: Hubs shooting for better start to season

Senior Colton O'Rorke will be a key returning pitcher for the Rochelle Hub varsity baseball team this season. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

O'Rorke, Gensler headline key returning seniors

ROCHELLE — Head coach Jarrod Reynolds will be looking for a small group of returning seniors as well as several new players to earn starting roles for the Rochelle Hub varsity baseball team after the program graduated a large number of players from last season.

“I’m excited to get going again,” Reynolds said. “We’re hoping that this spring will be better and we’ll be able to play more games and be outside more during the early part of the season. We had a good first week of practice and we have some talented kids at all levels of our program.”

Rochelle will tee off the season with a road game against Genoa-Kingston on Monday, March 20. The Hubs will face Boylan Catholic in their home opener on Wednesday, March 22 before opening Interstate 8 Conference action with a road game against Plano on Monday, April 4. Seniors Colton O’Rorke and Garrett Gensler will be two key returners for Rochelle this season.

“We have some seniors coming back who earned some varsity experience last year,” Reynolds said. “We’re hoping that we can throw strikes and change speeds well and I think we have a few guys who’re capable of doing that. We feel good about a few of our guys on the mound and I think we should be able to run the bases and play good defense… We struck out a lot last season and we’ll need to do a much better job of putting the ball in play this season.”

Junior Brock Metzger and senior Noah Lara are two more notable returners for the Hubs, who are looking to improve on a 6-16 overall record and 4-10 conference record from last season. With injuries and weather cancellations hindering Rochelle throughout the early part of last season, Reynolds and the Hubs will be hoping for a full nonconference slate before beginning the Interstate 8 schedule, which will include home-and-home sets over a seven-week frame.

“Colton’s going to take on a big role for us and he’s looked really good so far,” Reynolds said. “Garrett had some injuries last season, but we know he’s a great athlete and I think he’ll have a big role in the outfield. Noah caught a lot for us last season and we’re expecting big things out of Brock on the mound and in the infield… We have a lot of kids that we feel can help us out and play a role on our team. We have some unknowns, but it’s always exciting to see who steps up.”