- Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 10:13
- Written by Bobby Leach "The Rooster"
- Category: Sports News
The Romeoville Spartan baseball program has been competitive in recent years after moving to the Southwest Prairie Conference in 2005 and in fact had put together a string of winning seasons under coach Tony Smith. Late last summer it was announced that Smith had stepped down from his coaching position to pursue a collegiate coaching job leaving baseball fans to wonder who would pick up the reigns and continue building what has been one of Romeoville's most successful sport programs over the last decade.
After an exhaustive search, athletic director Jim Boudouris found a coach that not only has the experience of leading a baseball club but had a pedigree to match. Enter former St. Charles East and Prairie Ridge coach Dave Haskins who is the only baseball coach in the conference who holds claim to a state title after winning the 2008 Class 4A state championship in his first season as coach at Prairie Ridge. Incidentally, Haskins was an assistant coach at Fremd in 2000 when they finished the Class AA state tournament in fourth.
In an interview with coach Haskins this week, he was optimistic of his team despite having only a handful of seniors and void of a summer season with his club as his hire date came in August of 2011.
"It's the ultimate dream for me to be able to teach and coach in the same building," said Haskins about accepting the position at Romeoville. "In my previous position I was teaching at a middle school while coaching at the high school. I was very excited to have been offered the head varsity coaching and more importantly and educator at Romeoville high school."
While coach Haskins has some work cut out for him in a tough baseball conference with the likes of Plainfield North, East and Minooka this season, he will have some solid senior leadership taking the field this season and has the benefit of a legitimate starting ace pitcher on staff in the form of senior hurler Jim Rooks.
"Jim will be our ace this year on the mound. We have made a few adjustments to his delivery and changed his grip on his change-up and his breaking ball but also changing his mindset that he can truly be a number one. He was 2-4 last season but had an ERA under 3."
Also moving from third base to shortstop this season is senior infielder Videl Gonzalez who is entering his third season as a varsity starter. Behind the plate will be senior slugger Matt Venn who will be relied upon tremendously behind and at the plate.
"I believe we are pretty strong up the middle defensively this season and have guys like Anthony Gladstone and Matt Esquivel who will battle for an infield spot when Gonzalez is on the mound. I am hopeful with all the strengths this club has going into the season that it will translate to a successful year in the end," said Haskins.
The Spartans season opener was this week against Lincoln Way Central and takes on Lincoln Way East today at 4pm. Romeoville's home opener is next Friday the 23rd at 4pm against guest Morgan Park.
Photo above: "Romeoville senior pitching ace Jim Rooks hopes to lead his team to a conference championship this season under the direction of new coach David Haskins who took over the program at the beginning of the school year."