Kankakee Community College baseball keeps winning on and off the field
The Kankakee Community College Cavaliers baseball team has been on quite a run of success.
Since head coach Todd Post was brought aboard 16 years ago, the team has won the sectional tournament 14 times and averaged 40 wins per season during that time span.
The best year in school history occurred under Post's watch, with the team winning 52 games in 2009 and finishing third in the JUCO World Series. The college continued to achieve success again this season.
The Cavaliers ended up with a 38-24 record and finished as the No. 3 seed in their region, making it all the way to the final four. Unfortunately, they lost in the regional tournament, but they did win the sectional tournament again this past year. That success was led by two All-Region stars.
"We had two players make first-team All-Region," Post recently told the Kankakee Times. "Dan Brokop led the team in RBIs with 69, doubles with 20 and home runs with eight. He was a corner infielder and had a very good year for us. He signed to play at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Division I. Josh Bergbreiter, an infielder, also made first-team All-Region. He's going to Rockford College next year."
In addition, the team had a talented and diverse roster behind those two, led by a solid pitching staff and some young freshman who flashed in their initial year. The program expects big things out of them this coming season as well.
"We also had two pitchers that were very good for us," Post said. "Brock Immke, a two-year guy in our starting rotation, and he signed to play at University of Illinois-Springfield. And then Tristan Walters, who was an infielder and a starter in our rotation, and he signed at SIU-Edwardsville. Those guys had quality years. We also had some quality freshman: Matt Littrell and Alex Madeville. Both were freshman middle infielders that are returning for their sophomore years, and we have a couple of solid pitchers returning as well -- so a nice group of players coming back."
Post also will be looking to his incoming class of freshman to help carry the load. They have a legacy of success to live up to, and the team comes into the year with the same expectations as always, both on the diamond and in the classroom.
"Our expectations haven't changed," he said. "Our goal every year is to win 40 games and have a 3.0 team GPA and play for a regional championship and have that opportunity to go to the World Series. Of course, we need to take care of things in the classroom. And we spend a lot of time with that each semester, taking care of our academics so we can move our players on to the next level."
The team takes extra steps to make sure all of its players are fulfilling their off-the-field duties and have a unique situation in that one of the team's assistant coaches actually handles academic success for the entire college's athletic program. Having him so close to the players keeps them on track in their studies so they can continue to play well on the diamond.
"We monitor our players academically," Post said. "We have tutors available at the college for any extra help, and it's a daily routine of making sure that we're attending class and handling our business academically. My assistant coach, Bryce Shafer, is our academic success coordinator, and he works with all the student athletes. So it's not just baseball -- it's all the student athletes that are focused on the academic side as well."
It's that daily routine that's kept the well-oiled Cavaliers machine humming for the past 16 years, and has them poised for another successful season in 2017.