Beau McBride has goals in mind. But they might not all be the conventional ones people think of.
“Well there’s a certain amount of books I want to read before next school year,” McBride said, thinking hard between each thought. “I’m going on vacation to Italy with my parents, that I think will be pretty fun. I suppose that’s not an accomplishment. I want to retain my relationship with my girlfriend through the summer and I want to throw 3 miles per hour harder than I do right now.”
For a mid-June day, the Wilmette Waves’ pitching sure chilled Highland Park hitters in an Illinois Summer Baseball League contest. On a cold, overcast afternoon, a pair of New Trier rising Class of 2024 pitchers hurled consecutive, five-inning perfect games in a Thursday doubleheader. Throwing in the 86-87 mile per hour range, McBride brought the heat on a chilly afternoon.
McBride utilized an array of fastballs, biting sliders and his changeup for good measure, putting a lot of movement on the ball with his lefty release. McBride said he’s going to IBJI Physical and Occupational Therapy in Highland Park to work on his body to get the most out of it and get lifts in.
Eli Moore, playing third base for Highland Park, readies as a Waves runner leads off third.
“I’m trying to throw harder,” McBride said. “I probably need to work on other stuff like throwing strikes and throwing off-speed but I’m just trying to throw really hard because I think it’s cool.”
The third-place-in-the-state Trevians spread out and go on to their numerous summer ball clubs, while some don the light blue and gray uniforms for the Waves. The state run had the Trevians buzzing, and now they have to adjust to the more laid-back nature of summer.
“It was exciting,” McBride said. “I think most of us look at high school as the highlight of our baseball so I think it’s a little bit disappointing in a sense to go back to the summer games because we branch off to whatever travel ball. I think it’s an adjustment, the atmosphere.”
Not a week removed from the varsity squad taking third in the state of Illinois, the Trevians had both McBride and Noah Shapo, both of whom pitched during the Trevians’ state run, cut through the Giant lineups.
Playing in the Illinois Summer Baseball League brings players from a variety of teams, many without varsity experience, into situations where they play other varsity-seasoned players.
While the Waves put two Trevians on the hill, Highland Park on the flip side, put several rising sophomores and juniors on the diamond.
A class of 2024 two-year varsity player for Highland Park, Jacob Berliant knows how much joy can come from the summer game. He’s had upperclassmen help him to feel at ease over the years.
Highland Park players mill about during a break in the action
“I was one of the young guys my sophomore year. I joined up on varsity,” Berliant said. “I found at that time the seniors really helped out and tried connecting you with the juniors.”
Being part of a group in the summer with a diverse array of players in terms of experience, skill and attitude makes for a chance to establish bonds with his peers. Returning Class of 2024 outfielders Nicholas Blumer and Louie Kasdin both flashed the leather for the Giants, while 2025 catcher/infielder Eli Moore manned third and catcher for the Giants.
“Summer ball helps us to connect more,” Berlin said. “Not all of us play summer ball or can go every day, but to get together, have time spent with each other, time to connect. Throughout the year, during the actual season, all the time spent with each other is focused more on winning than having fun so it’s more relaxed and you can enjoy the sport.”
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