Posted on: February 5, 2021 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Joey Fernandez, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Moraine Valley baseball team is living by a mantra: “Control what you can control.”

MVCC baseball’s sophomore pitcher Brett Renken (Credit: Twitter @MVCyclones).

COVID-19 has put many things beyond the team’s control — players recently began indoor practice without knowing if there will even be a season to prepare for. However, the uncertainty hasn’t kept players from putting in the work to succeed this season. 

And their work so far has the coaches expressing high expectations for the team.

“In the season before the COVID-cancelled season, we advanced through our sectional round of the playoffs, but we were quickly ousted in the regional round,” said assistant coach Seth Webb. “We want to be right back in the regional tournament competing to represent the region at a world series in Enid, Oklahoma.” 

Players are also confident in the team’s prospects.

“We have the same mindset, same goal–and that’s to win every game,” said sophomore Brett Renken.

Webb has a hard time choosing which players are worth keeping an eye on this season.

“I’d name them all if I could,” he said. “We are nearly two players deep at every position. This team is oozing with talent.”

Pitchers he expects to excel are Brendan Gill, Renken, and Jon Runquist. Hitters to watch include Patrick (Buddha) Hayes, Steve Insley, and Max Bullock.

“Then there’s our two-way guys, Andrew Tenison, Chris Villafuerte, and Deven Jones,” he said.

Focusing on some of the other schools who may be a threat within the Cyclones’ conference, Webb gave some insight on the competition.

MVCC baseball’s sophomore outfielder/infielder Christopher Villafuerte (Photo by Ethan Holesha).

“Our conference is always tough, especially the McHenry and Oakton programs,” he said. “The competition gets even more intense in our region. There you’ve got Madison, Kankakee, and Black Hawk. All excellent programs.”

Still, with the pandemic still a factor, the season itself remains uncertain.

“I think we will have a season, but it will be adjusted,” Renken said. “We’ve been told we will not be playing as many teams that are a farther distance away from us. We would only play teams that are local.”

This sort of season would be more sustainable than the regular schedule because the team would come into contact with fewer players.

Even with the shortened season, the question remains: Are the players at any risk for contracting COVID?

 “I mean there’s always going to be a risk,” Villafuerte said. “But we’ve been going at it with everyone around following protocols, so I do feel safe if we end up having a season.”

The pod system being used for practices is designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and players believe that it has no effect on their ability to prepare for the season.

Webb attested to the team’s persistence to continue to improve while practicing with the pod system.

“I think we’re where we need to be,” he said. “The COVID break definitely set everyone back, but all things considered, I like where we’re at.”