05/23/2022 9:19 AM -
The Crestwood Panthers return for another season in the rebranded Northern League with opening day coming this Monday.
The Panthers are coming off their most successful season yet in 2021 with a 23-20-1 record and their first ever playoff appearance. They will have a new manager this fall as Isaac Valdez steps away to make room for former player D’Vante Glenn. Glenn played for the Panthers in 2019 and 2020 and is excited for his new opportunity in a familiar place.
“It definitely is a comfortable feeling,” Glenn said. “It gives me a lot of confidence to be able to do my job to the best of my ability.”
The Panthers return two players for 2022 in pitchers Justin Schassburger and Matt Maloney. Schassburger comes in following his freshman season at Anderson University, while Maloney comes in following his freshman season at Illinois Wesleyan.
Even though new faces will be aplenty on the Panthers this summer, multiple players bring impressive collegiate experience to the team. Outfielder Julian Everett brings the most experience, playing in 99 career collegiate games for Lewis University and hitting .247. Infielder Jimmy Gurgone was a letterwinner at Illinois Wesleyan, hitting .314 in 20 games during his freshman season.
Other experience players include pitcher Jacob Cook, who went 2-2 in 11 appearances for Missouri S&T this past season. Nico Pena hit .326 in 26 games for Olive Harvey this season as an outfielder.
Pena played under Glenn this season as Glenn was an assistant at Olive Harvey. This relationship is something that Glenn feels will help him this season.
“Nico and I developed a really good relationship,” Glenn said. “It was a pleasure working with him and continuing to work with him will be a lot of fun.”
Some local flavor will be on the roster for Crestwood including Wheeler High School graduate Sean Conroy and Griffith native Aydin Wright, who will play catcher. Conroy is an infielder coming off his freshman season at Allan Hancock College.
Alums of common travel baseball programs are also aplenty on the Panthers roster. White Sox ACE alums include Wright, pitcher Ethan Lambrigger, pitcher Erik Carlson and Joshua Aguiniga. The Cangelosi Sparks have two alums in infielders Hobbs Dune and Connor Janik.
Other players on the 2022 roster include Maine South infielder and Lincoln Land Community college commit Andrew Randazzo and Benedictine commit Jacob White. David Nguyen is the lone Michigan native on the team from Northville High School.
In terms of goals for the season, Glenn looks to help the guys on the roster get better. In order to help guys get better, Valdez will place an emphasis on the details of the game.
“Baseball is a game of all the small things,” Glenn said. “I want them to learn more about the game and also get better with their skill.”