Winning Tradition, Competitive Edge Remain Important for MHS Baseball Despite Coaching Change


Photo submitted by Ryan Patel. The Mustangs won the Regional championship vs Fremd thanks to a walk-off homerun by Steve Sanchez to advance to Sectionals.

Tyler Yakimisky, Sports Editor

Another successful season for the MHS baseball team included a 33-7 record, regional championship and sectional championship that led to a super-sectional berth.

However, MHS baseball is still looking for that elusive state title.

 This year, the baseball team will embark on another journey, with the same goal; however, it will be under a new head coach, Randy Lerner. Up until now, Lerner has been involved with the baseball program for 12 years.

 Lerner attended Wheeling High School and had what many would consider a successful playing career. As a freshman, he played the majority of his games on the sophomore team.At the end of his freshman year, he got the opportunity to play on varsity for state playoffs. During sophomore and junior year, he was the starting shortstop on his respective varsity team and also pitched.

 After problems with his elbow, though, Lerner shifted over to second base for his senior year and was named to the Mid-Suburban All-Conference team and the Daily Herald all-area team. He went on to attend the University of Illinois where he studied math.

  He is now the math department chair at MHS. Also, prior to being the varsity baseball coach, he was involved in Link Crew, Student Leadership and the math team.

 Lerner is very excited to embark on this new journey as the varsity coach and said he feels like some changes will need to be made to his coaching style in order to stress winning games over development.

 “As the sophomore head coach, the focus was really on development,” said Lerner. “I was making sure to develop the players and get them ready for varsity their junior and senior year. I know now as the varsity head coach to focus more on winning games and let the development come on its own throughout the season.”

 With his change in coaching style, Lerneris hoping the continued senior leadership and hard work keep Mundelein baseball’s winning tradition alive.

 Ryan Patel, senior, plays middle infielder and right-handed pitcher, and is optimistic for the new season with a new coach.

“I’m glad Coach Lerner got the job, and I’m excited to try to repeat the success we’ve had these past years,” said Patel who was starting shortstop for the 2017 varsity baseball team and played a role in the pitching staff as well. As for college interest, he is looking into attending Davidson College in North Carolina or the University of Dayton in Ohio.

 During his tenure at MHS as the sophomore baseball coach, Lerner was also part of the coaching staff during the state playoffs that take place every end of May and beginning of June.

 He said the experiences with the varsity team after the 2016 state championship run followed by a super-sectional berth the next season will allow this transition for the upcoming season to be even more natural.

 “As the sophomore coach, I really stressed three things. They were leadership, competitive edge and mental toughness,” said Lerner.

 The players under Lerner on the sophomore team believe these three qualities helped lead to success and helped better their own skill set. Specifically, Junior Jared Dorfman spoke very highly of Lerner’s coaching style.

 “He knows the game and gets to know his players really well,” said Dorfman.

 Although this upcoming varsity team may be without 2017 graduates Brendan Murphy, Nicholas Stricker, Will Michalski or Brett Parola, Lerner said he feels confident about winning games; it just may look a little different.

  “It will depend on the teams we play and the pitcher that we face. We will need to play small ball and take advantage of our team speed at times throughout the year,” said Lerner. “We hope that we’ll have our hitters prepared to come up with the big hits when needed.”  

 Respect and representing the baseball program the right way are something Lerner also stressed.

 Lerner said, “I’m big on always doing things the right way, playing the game the right way and respecting the uniform we put on everyday.”