Photo by Bill Roseberry
Members of the Civic Memorial baseball team are pose together, (front, from left) John Whitworth, Jack Walker, Devin Daniels, Tyler Andrus, Corey Price, Lukas Jones and Konnar Loewen; (back, from left) Zac Cato, Chaz Johannigmeier, Connor Bryant, Caleb Dhue, Caleb Buhs and Zach Klocke.
Gary Bruening came out of retirement last season to coach the Civic Memorial Eagles’ baseball team and thoroughly enjoyed it.
“I took two years away from it and that energized me about coming back to coach,” Bruening said. “It has been fun because we have good kids in the program.”
So he’s back for another season and has hopes the Eagles will fly high. CM posted a 20-11 record in 2014 and has visions of savoring more success. Bruening, who previously coached the Eagles from 1995-2011, said it will be more of a building process this spring.
“We will be inexperienced as far as varsity playing time,” Bruening said. The Eagles were scheduled to start their season Thursday at Mount Vernon. They welcome Edwardsville in an 11 a.m. varsity game Saturday.
Overall, it’s Bruening’s 19th season as the team’s head coach and he sports a 316-234 record. The Eagles won at least 23 games a season four times in five seasons from 2007-11. They were a school-record 28-6 in 2010.
“We graduated 13 seniors from last year’s team, but we do return a few players that were with us last season,” Bruening said. “And our junior varsity team went 19-5, so we feel there is talent with this group even though some didn’t get varsity innings last year.”
No fewer than nine seniors expect to lead the way for the Eagles, who took third behind champion Mascoutah in the Mississippi Valley Conference standings. They finished 5-5 in league competition.
Outfielder Caleb Buhs could serve as CM’s anchor. The 6-foot-6 senior batted .313 and drove in 17 runs last season. He has signed with Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville.
“We’re looking for big things from him,” Bruening said.
Infielder Tyler Andrus, another senior, batted .286 in 2014 and also posted a 3-2 pitching record. “He gave us good innings on the mound and also will play infield positions,” Bruening said.
Pitcher Zac Cato and shortstop-pitcher Lukas Jones also figure significantly in the Eagles’ plans. CM graduated top hitters Jansen Helmkamp (.430), Cory Howard (.365), Zach Klaustermeier (.338), Ben Walker (.337) and Connor Melton (.324), plus pitchers Brett Beckham (6-2) and Tommy Flack (4-2). Beckman also batted .299.
Sophomores Konnar Loewen and Brandon Carpenter figure to divide the bulk of the catching duties. It’s senior Connor Bryant at first base, with sophomore Corey Price at second base and Jones, a senior, at shortstop. Senior Caleb Dhue and sophomore Colin Hall are infield candidates. Bryant has signed with Lindenwood-Belleville University.
Bruening has seniors Devin Daniels and Zach Klocke, junior John Whitworth, Buhs, Cato and Dhue available to play in the outfield. Senior Chaz Johannigmeier and junior Jack Walker can complement Andrus, Price, Hall, Whitworth, Bryant and Buhs on the mound.
“It’ll be sort of pitching by committee,” Bruening said. “We hope to get a lot of innings from a lot of people.”
Sophomores Trevor Panyik, Jaxson Helmkamp and Brandon Hampton can supply pitching depth or chip in as position players.
Following their two scheduled games this week, the Eagles are primed to play Breese Central (March 24), at Southwestern (March 26) and at Alton (March 28). CM also has key rival games at East Alton-Wood River(April 9) and at Marquette Catholic (April 14). The Eagles open Valley play at Jersey (April 13) and then clash with Roxana at Busch Stadium (April 25).
Andrus, a senior, is the leading returning pitcher for the Eagles. He went 3-2 in 28 innings on the mound last year with a 2.25 ERA. In limited action at the plate, Andrus batted .286. He looks to pencil in as an infielder, too.
A 6-6 senior outfielder, Buhs will play at SWIC next year, but looks to lead CM for his final prep season. He is the leading returning hitter for the Eagles, after batting .313 with 17 RBIs in 64 at-bats as a junior.
Coach: Gary Bruening
Record last season: 20-11
Career record at school: 316-234 in 18 years
Tyler Andrus, pitcher, infielder
Connor Bryant, infielder
Caleb Buhs, infielder/outfielder
Jake Buhs, pitcher
Zac Cato, pitcher/outfielder
Deven Daniels, infielder/outfielder
Caleb Dhue, infielder/outfielder
Chaz Johannigmeier, pitcher
Lukas Jones, pitcher/infielder
Zach Klocke, outfielder
Jack Walker, pitcher
John Whitworth, outfielder
Brandon Carpenter, catcher
Colin Hall, infielder/pitcher
Jaxson Helmkamp, infielder
Konnar Loewen, catcher
Trevor Paynik, pitcher
Corey Price, infielder/ outfielder/pitcher
March 19 – at Mount Vernon, 4:30 p.m.
March 21 – vs. Edwardsville, 11 a.m.
March 24 – vs. Breese Central, 4:15 p.m.
March 26 – at Southwestern, 4:15 p.m.
March 28 – at Alton (DH), 11 a.m.
April 1 – vs. Breese Mater Dei, 4:15 p.m.
April 2 – vs. Freeburg, 4:15 p.m.
April 6 – vs. Collinsville, 4:15 p.m.
April 7 – at Greenville, 4:30 p.m.
April 9 – at EA-WR, 4:15 p.m.
April 10 – at O’Fallon, 4:30 p.m.
April 11 – vs. Staunton (DH), 10 a.m.
April 13 – at Jersey*, 4:30 p.m.
April 14 – at Marquette, 7 p.m.
April 15 – vs. Highland*, 4:30 p.m.
April 18 – vs. Roxana (DH), 10 a.m.
April 20 – at Waterloo*, 4:15 p.m.
April 21 – vs. Metro East Lutheran, 4:15 p.m.
April 22 – vs. Triad*, 4:15 p.m.
April 24 – at Granite City, 4:30 p.m.
April 25 – vs. Roxana at Busch Stadium, 10 a.m.
April 27 – at Mascoutah*, 4:15 p.m.
April 29 – vs. Jersey*, 4:15 p.m.
April 30 at Waterloo Gibault, 4:15 p.m.
May 4 – at Highland*, 4:15 p.m.
May 6 – vs. Waterloo*, 4:15 p.m.
May 7 – at Carrollton, 4:30 p.m.
May 11 – at Triad*, 4:15 p.m.
May 13 – vs. Mascoutah*, 4:15 p.m.
May 15 – vs. Gillespie, 4:15 p.m.
May 19 – at Columbia, 4:15 p.m.
* Denotes conference games