Players display skills at the Stevenson Showcase
Hinsdale South's D.J. Deolitsis catches a line drive on the outfield. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 23, 2012 6:07AM
After winning a Class 4A state title with Oak Park-River Forest, college recruiters and major-league scouts should be familiar with Nick Kowalczuk. After Friday, many more should know about the 6-foot-3, 215-pound slugging first baseman.
Kowalczuk’s first at-bat in the 15th annual Northwest Suburban Baseball Showcase, better known as the Stevenson Showcase was a memorable one. Kowalczuk, who hit one home run, during the regular season for the Huskies, hit a two-run, inside-the-park home run in the top of the first inning in Lincolnshire.
He drilled an 0-1 pitch by Maine South’s Mike Virgilo to the deepest part of the sophomore field at Stevenson. As the ball flew over the center fielder’s head, the ball tipped off the outfielder’s glove and rolled even deeper into center field.
That portion of the field, 445 feet from home plate, actually features an open-fence area next to Stevenson’s varsity softball field.
Kowalczuk’s drive scored Hinsdale South’s D.J. Deolitsis as the West Suburban Conference went on to beat the Central Suburban League 9-4 in the first of two nine-inning games played in the tournament.
“It’s got to be that deep like that of over 400 feet,” Kowalczuk said. “The pitch was a little up. I knew it was gone.”
Kowalczuk was one of two West Suburban players to have four at-bats in the game and went 3-for-4 with singles in the second and fourth innings. He drove in a team-leading three RBI and scored another run in the fourth.
For the Huskies, Kowalczuk ranked second on the state champs for RBI (36) and third in batting average (.367).
Before the season, Kowalczuk ranked No. 23 among the state’s top prospects for the Class of 2013, but that ranking will undoubtedly move up in the website’s postseason prospect rankings.
The only West Suburban player ranked higher to appear at the Stevenson Showcase was Lyons Township pitcher Keith Lehmann (No. 5). Lehmann entered the game in the eighth inning and pitched two innings. He gave up two hits, but struck out three. Hinsdale Central pitcher Adam Dressler, ranked No. 4, did not attend Friday’s Stevenson Showcase game.
Two LT players started Friday’s Stevenson Showcase game with right fielder Mike Lorenz and designated hitter Tom Prescott. Prescott struck out twice and Lorenz went 3-for-3 with two RBI and a double and run in the third inning. The left-handed Prescott, who pitched 16 innings in the high school season, pitched one inning and allowed three hits and two runs in the fourth inning against the CSL.
Deolitsis has different priorities this summer. He is the returning starting quarterback for Hinsdale South’s football team and began summer camp Monday at 6:30 a.m. for that sport. He scored two runs and went 1-for-3 as the leadoff hitter for the West Suburban.
“I felt good out there. I felt like I was playing a normal game,” Deolitsis said. “Our whole team has meshed together.”
Hinsdale Central catcher Tyler Ward went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, but was the only Red Devils player to appear in Friday’s game. Pitchers typically throw one inning per game before dozens of college recruiters and several Major-League scouts. It makes for a busy day for catchers. The West Suburban had eight different pitchers in the game.
“It’s tough catching because you have a new guy every inning,” Ward said. “You go over signs before the inning.”