The North Park baseball team’s most successful season in the last four was 2012.
But there is no doubt that the 2014 season was the best for Eric Sousanes (Waubonsie Valley). The North Park infielder finished his final season with a .372 batting average.
“It will be strange being a student next year and not having to go to stuff affiliated with baseball,” said Sousanes, who will graduate in December. “Individual success is nice, but nothing beats being with your friends and teammates in the playoffs.”
As a senior, he had 54 hits (nine doubles, one triple, two homers). He led the Vikings in stolen bases (33) and was second in runs scored (45). He also had 24 RBI and 21 walks. His 33 stolen bases ranked third in the country among Division III players.
“Last summer, I learned something that helped me become a better base stealer,” said Sousanes. “I try to watch the pitcher and learn the signals. I always want to steal on a pitch that will get to the plate slow or will be a difficult pitch for the catcher to handle.”
Sousanes finished his career hitting the leader board in several categories. His 157 games placed him third all time. He is also in the top five in at-bats (fourth, 579), doubles (fourth, 38) and hits (189). His 88 walks in a career ranks sixth, while his 64 stolen bases is seventh. He never hit lower than .280 in a single season and his career average was .326.
Sousanes was named to the CCIW All-Conference team during all four years. He was a first team selection as a junior and a senior and was a second team selection during his first two seasons. He was also an NCAA Division III all-region pick as a senior and won an ABCA Rawlings Gold Glove as a sophomore.
The son of Marcus and Diane Sousanes of Aurora is working toward degrees in physical education and health. He will also have an endorsement in physical education.
When Illinois Wesleyan baseball coach Dennis Martel was asked what he saw and liked about Naperville Central player Bobby Czarnowski (Naperville Central), the answer was simple.
“He was such a good hitter,” said the Martel, the Titan veteran coach. “His hand-eye coordination was so good. I knew he was going to be good. After his freshman year, I knew he was a special player.”
Czarnowski was exactly that. He finished with a career batting average of .333. As a sophomore and a senior, his batting averages were a robust .371 and .353. The 6-4 outfielder, finished with 209 hits (37 doubles, seven triples, 22 homers) in his 627 trips to the plate. He drove home 134 runs, scored 121, walked 67 times and stole 11 bases.
He ranks seventh in hits for a career at IWU. He also is in the top ten in RBI (ninth, 134), at-bats (fourth, 627), most games started (eighth, 161), triples (eighth, seven) and most games played (ninth, 167).
As a senior, he had 60 hits in 170 trips to the plate — 14 doubles, three triples and six home runs. He drove home 41 runs, scored 37 times, earned 23 walks and stole six bases.
“Bobby improved most on his defense while at IWU,” said Martel. “He was always a great hitter, but he became a complete player. The other thing was his attitude. He always had a positive attitude and is quite a character. He kept everyone in the dugout relaxed when they needed to be and focused when they needed to be.”
Czarnowski was named to the CCIW first team twice as a sophomore and as a senior. He was also an NCAA Division III All-Central Region pick by both D3Baseball.com and ABCA/Rawlings as a senior.
He was named the MVP of IWU, an award he shared with another player.
The son of Bob and Pam Czarnowski of Naperville is majoring in business marketing.