Although the West Allis Central baseball team came into this week still searching for its first victory, there are hopeful signs on the horizon.
The Bulldogs have four freshmen on their pitching staff — Tyler Drezek, Cam Drury, Danny Llanas and Jorden Rauch — and they have all been solid so far this season.
'Our top pitchers are all freshmen,' coach Dean Mlachnik said. 'When they have pitched, we've been in the games.'
Central was hurt when Brandon Maglio, a four-year starter and the best player on last year's squad, was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery in February, ruling him out for this season.
'He is a great kid,' Mlachnik said. 'He is still coming to every practice, supporting his teammates any way he can. He is just always around the ballyard.'
Mlachnik said Maglio signed with the College of Lake County (Illinois) to play baseball next spring.
Central played four games last week, including three against some of the top squads in the Greater Metro Conference.
The Bulldogs fell to defending WIAA state champion Menomonee Falls, 7-0, on June 7, and to WIAA state runnerup Franklin, 7-1, on June 6. Against Franklin, Drezek worked five solid innings and left with his team trailing just 2-0.
Central also fell to perennial power Oak Creek, 16-0, on June 9, managing just two hits.
The Bulldogs lost to Brookfield Central, 16-5, on June 10, but the score is misleading, Mlachnik said.
'We led 4-0 in the fourth inning; then we made three errors, which led to seven runs, and things went down from there,' the coach said.
Central also played Marquette tough in an 8-7 loss on June 3, trailing 7-0 early and battling back all the way to tie it at 7-7. The Hilltoppers pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.
'We played a nice ballgame that night,' Mlachnik said.
For Central, junior Kurt Mlachnik has hit well and has about 15 stolen bases, and junior catcher Mike Wilcox has played well, the coach said.
The Bulldogs meet Sussex Hamilton at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at Belich Field and then take on West Allis Hale at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 17, at Belich. They lost a 10-2 decision in the earlier meeting.
They meet Marquette again at 6 p.m. Monday, June 20, at Belich and visit Franklin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 21.