Created:Sunday, March 23, 2014 4:20 p.m.CDT
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Johnsburg's Brandon Krennrich won't play high school baseball in 2014

Johnsburg's Brandon Krennrich (left) tags out Antioch's Tony Nobriga at third base March 29, 2012, at Tiger Field in Johnsburg. Krennrich, who committed to Kentucky after the 2012 season, will not play high school baseball this season. (Shaw Media file photo)

Johnsburg’s baseball team returns several key varsity players who could make the Skyhawks a contender in the Fox Valley Conference Fox Division.

One of the best players, however, will not be there. Junior Brandon Krennrich, a two-year varsity player who committed to Kentucky in the fall of 2012, has opted not to play high school baseball. Krennrich instead will play and work out with the Racine Hitters this spring, then play with Chicago-based Elite Baseball Training in the summer.

“My goal each spring is to come out healthy and as prepared as possible for my travel season,” Krennrich said. “This spring wasn’t any different. I was given the opportunity and felt that I could participate with the Racine Hitters in some Perfect Game tournaments. It’ll be a good environment and I’ll face some great competition from over the region and the southeastern or western states.”

The Hitters will play around the Racine area in the spring and play a big tournament in Iowa, then head to Florida or Arizona over the Memorial Day weekend.

Second-year Johnsburg coach Sam Lesniak only cared to comment about the players on his roster.

“I’m excited about our team and the pieces we have now, and the amount of talent on our team with the kids we have,” Lesniak said. “I’m thrilled about our chances for success this year.”

Those players are led by shortstop Collin Ridout and pitcher Kevin Kordik. Ridout is a fourth-year varsity player who will play at Heartland Community College, a strong junior college program, next year. Krennrich was a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable-mention selection last season.

Krennrich’s father, Todd, is an assistant coach at Carmel, where former Johnsburg coach Dann Giesey is head coach. By sitting out this spring, Krennrich would be eligible to play at Carmel next year, but he said that is not the plan.

“[Giesey and I] are very close, but there’s no chance of me going to Carmel,” Krennrich said. “I’m staying at Johnsburg [as a student] for the rest of my high school career.”

Krennrich gained a reputation as a freshman catcher for his defensive prowess, as well as on offense. Huntley speedster Colin Lyman, now at Louisville, stole 28 bases in 30 attempts two years ago. Krennrich was one of the catchers who threw him out.

“It was definitely a difficult decision after playing with those kids for several years now,” Krennrich said. “Collin Ridout and I were teammates when we were 10. Nick Brengman is one of my closest friends, and I’ll miss the rivalry game with McHenry where Cody Freund and Payton Lykins and I were teammates with the [McHenry County] Hurricanes.”

Krennrich was not sure whether he would be with the Hitters next spring or possibly return to Johnsburg’s team.

“It’s still open right now,” Krennrich said. “I’m just going year by year.”