After a successful run with the Minooka Baseball/Softball Association, it was time this summer for the 16U baseball team to move on.
The former Rivercats became the Minooka Dynasty and, while the name may have changed, the run of success did not. Dynasty posted a 29-8 record this summer, which included the championships of two tournaments
After fielding interest from various organizations, head coach Chris Norman and assistants Jay Dahlberg and Ellis Medlin decided to move the team to Illinois Dynasty Baseball.
"Through the Dynasty program, they are now able to provide Sports Recruits web based recruiting to all of our players, have video analysis for skill development, increased depth of coaching, superior facilities [JJC Indoor Events Center in Joliet and The Yard hitting facility in Shorewood], and increased exposure through more competitive tournament selections," Norman said. "Our winter workout facilities are some of the best In the Midwest, with the JJC indoor facility providing a full turf major league infield along with three large batting cages and pitching tunnels, along with the Yard facility in Shorewood providing hitting and pitching cages with video analysis capabilities."
On the field, Illinois Dynasty Black 15U compiled a 29-8 record with two tournament championships and a third place finish in the Perfect Game National Qualifier at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana.
“The spring weather was poor this year and washed out two of our tournaments that we were in position to win, but we still had a strong season," Norman said. "We won our first tournament of the season in May, outscoring our opponents 46-5 and finishing 5-0. We also went undefeated in winning The Diamond Sports Promotions Chicago Classic in June, beating Top Tier National in the final game by a score of 15-8. Traveling to Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Nashville, along with playing in three perfect game tournaments provided strong exposure for our players.”
Pitching was a strength of the team all year, as the team sported an ERA of 2.75. Ryan Norman, Mitch Thomas, Charlie Diiulio, and Frankie Hummel provided top of the rotation performances all season. Norman finished the season with a 1.97 ERA and led the team in WHIP, strikeouts, and saves. Thomas finished the season with a 5-0 record and led the team in ERA at 0.78 and batting average against of .181 for the season. Diiulio finished with a team high 36 1/3 innings pitched, a 2.89 ERA, and a 1.26 WHIP. Hummel went 6-0 with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP for the season.
Alex Allen, Adem Osmani, Dalton Reibel, and Cam Goodwin also contributed greatly to the success of the team on the mound.
Offensively, the club was led by Ivan Dahlberg, Caleb Parker and Norman all finishing with averages over .400. Dahlberg, a catcher, finished the season with a team leading .539 average, .743 OBP, .789 slugging, and a 1.532 OPS.
“Dahlberg is one of the best 15-year-old catchers in the Midwest and should draw strong interest from colleges over the next couple years," Chris Norman said.
Dahlberg picked off seven runners and threw out 15 attempted base stealers this season, His offensive numbers, also include a team-high 43 walks and 20 hit by pitch.
Parker, a shortstop, hit .455 on the season while leading the team in hits (55), RBIs (47) and stolen bases (20). He also struck out only once all season.
Norman, an uncommitted 2022 2B/CF/ P from Minooka High School, hit .423 on the season and led the team in doubles (12), runs scored (52) and finished a perfect 18 for 18 in stolen base attempts.
Other huge contributors on offense were Diiulio, Hummel, Thomas, Louie Johnson, and Matthew Medlin. Diiulio batted .388 on the season with seven doubles, three triples and 36 RBI while batting fifth in the lineup all season. Hummel hit .359 with five doubles and 29 RBIs, Thomas hit .319 with 38 hits, four doubles, 47 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases while hitting leadoff the majority of the season. Johnson hit .286 with a .517 on base percentage fueled by 29 walks and 9 hit by pitches. Medlin is a rangy outfielder with developing power that hit 6 doubles and had a .395 OBP.
Norman said that recruiting for our Illinois Dynasty Black 16U team for next season has been completed.
"We are adding four new players that provide three more strong hard-throwing pitchers, another catcher, and some quality up the middle defenders," he said. "We plan on gaining additional exposure through play in Perfect Game tournaments, PBR events, and travel. Our planned destinations include possibly attending tournaments in Indiana, Georgia, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan. We hope that our 28-9 record during our first year at Dynasty, and our overall 152-47 record with 14 tournament championships over the past four years will be a nice foundation to build on going into our 16U season in 2020."