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Player of the Year Trapino

March 13, 2013
Richmond Burton High School

Player of the Year Trapino was Richmond-Burton's dual threat

By JOE STEVENSON – joestevenson@shawmedia.com

E.J. Trapino did not take many swings during his junior baseball season at Richmond-Burton and likely will not be doing any hitting next season at NCAA Division I Wright State.

That’s fine with Trapino, who gained high school and travel baseball notoriety, as well as earning his scholarship, through his left arm. Trapino made the most of one last season to get in his rips.

“We were playing Wheaton Academy in the [IHSA Class 2A Richmond-Burton] regional opener and they were pretty good,” R-B coach Mike Giese said. “They threw a kid (Trevor Swaney) who E.J. is going to room with in college. [Trapino] said, ‘All I want to do is hit a home run off of him.’ In the bottom of the sixth, he hit a two-run homer to get us the win. He’s capable of doing pretty much anything he sets his mind to.”

Trapino was again the area’s most dominant pitcher, although his hitting numbers also matched up with most of the area’s other top outfielders. For his ability to stop teams as a pitcher and ignite R-B’s lineup as leadoff man, Trapino is the Northwest Herald Baseball Player of the Year, selected by the sports staff with input from area coaches.

Trapino is the first R-B player to take the honor since Nate Roberts in 2006.

Trapino led the Rockets to a 27-10 record, a share of the Big Northern Conference East Division championship and their second sectional title in school history.

Crystal Lake South shortstop-pitcher Jordan Van Dyck, Prairie Ridge center fielder Jordan Getzelman and Dundee-Crown center fielder Jake Romano also received consideration, but Trapino’s effect in all aspects swayed the selection in his favor.

“I feel like we had a good year. I pitched as well as I could,” Trapino said. “I had a great summer and felt like I worked hard all winter. I knew everything was going well and knew it would carry over into the spring, and it worked out perfect for me.”

Trapino was 12-1 as a pitcher with an 0.77 ERA and an area-high 120 strikeouts, with 41 walks, in 73 innings. He also was an All-Area first-team choice last season when he led the area in strikeouts.

Giese had so many good hitters last season he used a designated hitter in most games for Trapino and Ray Wojciechowski. Trapino (5-foot-10, 160 pounds) knew the opportunity would be there to hit this season and worked out harder, adding 20 pounds. He hit .405 with four homers, 22 RBIs, seven doubles and a school-record 10 triples. He also stole 11 bases and scored 41 runs.

“He didn’t hit much last year, but he never complained about it,” Giese said. “He just did what we asked him and when the offseason came, he worked harder. When he plays, he plays with a chip on his shoulder. Whether it’s hitting or pitching, he wants to prove he’s the best person on the field that day.”

R-B’s players appreciated what Trapino offered every day.

“From the start, we all knew what E.J. would bring to the team for pitching,” shortstop Ryne Blanton said. “Once he started hitting, everybody realized he can be such a threat there too. In the outfield he had a great arm. He pitched and hit and stole bases. You can’t ask for much more.”

Early in the season, Trapino pitched as R-B defeated Crystal Lake South, 7-5. South went on to take a share of the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division championship. In the final week of the regular season, he threw 140 pitches to beat Burlington Central, 4-0, on his 18th birthday. That win helped R-B to a share of the BNC East title.

Giese, himself, cringed at the pitch count. But Trapino, who was not scheduled to pitch for another week, was insistent on finishing such a big game. He struck out 13, walked seven and left the bases loaded four times.

It was a rare moment of adversity – R-B’s 14-3 loss to Rock Island Alleman in the Augustana College Supersectional – that Giese will also remember. Trapino was hit the hardest he had been all season and was lifted after four innings. The defense committed seven errors.

“Character really comes out when things don’t go your way,” Giese said. “The defense fell apart and he didn’t yell or pout. He still high-fived the guys because we were a team. That’s hard when everything’s gone right all year. You don’t see that as much as you should.” (NWHerald 6/15/12)


Future teammates: Richmond-Burton ace E.J. Trapino and Wheaton Academy’s Trevor Swaney faced each other in Wednesday’s IHSA Class 2A Richmond-Burton Regional first-round game, which R-B won, 7-5.

Trapino and Swaney will be teammates next season at NCAA Division I Wright State. Trapino (11-0) did not get the decision in that game. (NWHerald 5/17/12)


RB tied for 1st in BNC East

by Joe Stevenson


RICHMOND – Richmond-Burton pitcher E.J. Trapino got the best birthday present possible from his teammates in the fourth inning against Burlington Central – a run.

Until that point, Trapino had struggled with his control, but had wriggled out of one tough situation after another.

After that, Trapino was locked in. He struck out eight of the next nine batters he faced. He ripped a pair of extra-base hits. And he finished what he started for a 4-0 R-B victory that lifted the Rockets into a tie with Burlington atop the Big Northern Conference East Division baseball standings.

R-B (22-7 overall, 8-1 BNC East) finishes its division schedule at Harvard today. Burlington (20-8, 8-1) faces Genoa-Kingston today in its final division game.

“E.J. said he had a good birthday going and we didn’t want to mess that up,” said second baseman Ray Wojciechowski, who drove in the fourth-inning run. “That [run] put some energy in the dugout. Playing with a lead is big, and when E.J. gets a lead he really gets in a groove.”

Trapino (11-0) has allowed only two earned runs all season. He struck out 13, walked seven, allowed six hits and left the bases loaded in four innings, including the second, third and fourth.

“I was just rushing myself and thinking too much,” Trapino said. “I do better when I just let things happen. When we put a run on the board, I knew I needed to up my game and be confident on the mound. I got ahead in the count and worked hard.”

Trapino doubled with one out in the fifth, leading to two more R-B runs. He struck out the side in the fifth and sixth, then after a leadoff infield single in the seventh, whiffed two more hitters.

“E.J.’s heart kind of won us the game,” R-B coach Mike Giese said. “I’ve never seen a kid pitch out of tight situations better than he does.”

Trapino threw 140 pitches, but knowing he was not scheduled to throw again for more than a week, he told Giese he did not want to come out.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for a while,” said Trapino, whose last loss came against Burlington last season. “I wanted to put the team on my shoulders and bring it home.”

Burlington’s Riley Jensen (7-2) was tough, but R-B took advantage of two errors for a pair of unearned runs.

“We took a good approach at the plate and we hit some balls hard,” Burlington coach Kyle Nelson said. “Sometimes when you face a good pitcher, they just get you out in tough situations. They’re disappointed that we probably won’t win it outright, but when you lose to a good team, there’s nothing to hang your head about.” (NWHerald 5/10/12)

Athlete of the Week~E.J. Trapino

Richmond-Burton, sr.

The Rockets’ ace left-hander was fantastic Wednesday against Burlington Central in a 4-0 complete-game victory that tied R-B for a share of first place in the Big Northern Conference East Division with one remaining game.

Trapino battled some control problems, walking seven, but left the bases loaded in four innings, including the seventh. Good drama came in the seventh when he faced Burlington’s tough No. 3 hitter, Tanner Scott, with two runners on and got him looking at a called third strike on a full count.

Trapino struck out 13 and allowed six hits, finishing the game with 140 pitches. Rockets coach Mike Giese was ready to take him out after six innings, but Trapino insisted on finishing the game.

Trapino also celebrated his 18th birthday with a double and triple in the fifth and sixth innings. A lefty hitter, he ripped the first pitch of his at-bat to the left-field fence in the fifth for a double. He squared up the first pitch he saw in the sixth inning to center field for a triple. (NWHerald 5/11/12)

This and that:  RB senior lefty E.J. Trapino ran his record to 5-0 with a 5-0 win against Crystal Lake Central on Tuesday.  Trapino has allowed only two earned runs this season.  (NWHerald 4/6/12)

Inside Baseball~Noteworthy

Trapino rolling: Richmond-Burton left-hander E.J. Trapino is off to a 4-0 start for the Rockets and has allowed only two earned runs.

Trapino struck out 11 and walked five in Tuesday’s 6-1 victory at McHenry. He was upset at himself when a wild pitch allowed a runner to score in the seventh, his second earned run of the season.

Trapino was the area’s strikeout leader last season with 114 in 73 2/3 innings. He will pitch at NCAA Division I Wright State next season. (NWHerald 3/29/12)

Trapino propels RB

By JOE STEVENSON – joestevenson@shawmedia.com

McHENRY – Richmond-Burton’s baseball team can accurately predict what will happen when senior ace E.J. Trapino takes his turn.

“We know most of the time it’s going to be a shutout or a one-run game,” third baseman Donnie Stupienski said. “If we just get him a couple runs, we’ll be in good shape. It seems to translate over to the hitting, too. It’s a real boost with him on the mound.”

That was precisely what happened Tuesday when the Rockets faced McHenry. R-B backed Trapino’s two-hit effort with nine hits in a 6-1 nonconference win at Petersen Park.

“I was a little disappointed with the [five] walks, and I was a little disappointed with my curveball earlier,” Trapino said. “I missed some with my curveball, and then I started snapping it down. I was battling back in counts when it was 3-0 and didn’t just give up outs.”

Trapino (4-0) struck out 11 and threw 128 pitches for his first seven-inning game of the season.

Some higher counts helped push the pitch count up and R-B coach Mike Giese said, in retrospect, he should have pulled the left-hander who will pitch at NCAA Division I Wright State.

“He’s in good shape and he won’t pitch again until next week,” said Giese, whose team is 7-2. “He does walk guys sometimes, but E.J. will be E.J. He controls the game and he does a good job working himself out of spots.”

Trapino gave up a hit to pinch-hitter Justin Lancaster in the fifth and another single to Kyle Clark in the seventh. Clark eventually scored on a wild pitch, which was Trapino’s second earned run in 23 innings, making his ERA 0.61.

Giese was impressed with his team’s approach at the plate after Monday’s 9-4 loss to Grant.

“The offense was much better today,” Giese said. “We have to think through the at-bats a little bit. [Monday] we swung at too many high fastballs. We let those go, and we were tougher outs [Tuesday].”

Stupienski had two hits and an RBI, and Matt Rygiel was 2 for 3 with two RBIs.

“We looked at more strikes [Monday],” Stupienski said. “[Tuesday], we were getting first-pitch pitches to hit and jumping on them. And hitting is contagious, so a couple guys got one and everyone hit better.”

McHenry (2-2) has been held to two hits in its past 14 innings by Antioch’s Danny Arden, on Monday, and Trapino. The Warriors defeated Antioch with two first-inning runs.

“[Trapino] has good stuff and he’s tough to hit,” McHenry coach Brian Rockweiler said. “There’s not too many from him down the middle. [Seeing teams’ No. 1 pitchers] will make us better once we get into the [Fox Valley Conference Valley Division] season. Today was better than [Monday], we had a better idea what we were doing up there.” (NWHerald 3/27/12)

One of 5 players to watch:  E.J. Trapino, Richmond-Burton, sr., P
The Rockets’ lefty has wicked breaking stuff and struck out an area-best 114 batters in 73 2⁄3 innings last season, while walking 40. He finished 9-2 with a 1.81 ERA and threw a no-hitter to beat Vernon Hills, 5-0, in a sectional semifinal game. Trapino was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team pick and signed with D-I Wright State.  (NWHerald 3/22/12)

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