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Same first name, same position. Lincoln-Way West’s Josh Howard follows in father’s footsteps as a catcher. ‘I’m gaining confidence.’


Josh Howard is ready to be Lincoln-Way West’s next varsity catcher. It’s a role for which Howard, who will be a junior in the fall, has prepared a long time.

“I’ve been a catcher my entire life,” Howard said. “My dad (Josh) played it, so I just naturally followed suit. He played at Andrew and a year at Eastern Illinois.

“I’ve followed in his footsteps, and we’ve worked on catching together my whole life.”

Howard impressed in his first chance to play with the varsity during the Warriors’ run in the Phil Lawler Summer Classic.

He capped a strong showing with two hits Wednesday night, but Lincoln-Way West lost 4-1 to Lane Tech in the championship game of the 48-team tournament at Illinois-Chicago’s Curtis Granderson Stadium.

“It’s been fun getting to play with these guys,” Howard said. “I’m gaining confidence.”

The Warriors won six straight to reach the tournament championship game, taking a six-team regional to advance to the eight-team state finals before earning three pool-play victories.

They were held in check Wednesday, however, by Lane Tech pitchers Josh Katz and Emmett Heneghan.

Tyler Koscinski doubled and scored on an error in the sixth for the Warriors’ lone run.

Howard, though, had his second straight two-hit game, ripping singles to left field in the second and fourth innings.

“With all these young kids, it’s about coming out and being a part of this to show what you can do,” Lincoln-Way West coach Jake Zajc said. “Josh opened eyes. He works hard behind the plate. He knows some things he has to get better at.

“But he had four hits these last two games. It was just a great performance from him, which was great to see.”

After wrapping up a solid season with the junior varsity in the spring, Howard watched Lincoln-Way West (25-7-1) make program history on the varsity by winning its first sectional title.

The Warriors lost 5-1 to Brother Rice in the Class 4A Crestwood Supersectional.

“It was really fun,” Howard said. “It was exciting to see, and it made me more excited to be a part of the team.”

Howard and his dad have bonded over catching as he has grown up, spending countless hours working at the position.

“He’s taught me how to call a game and how to know what pitches are right in certain situations and how to block,” Howard said. “Going into varsity now, I just have to keep working on my craft and getting better.”

Left-handed pitcher Colton Kachinsky, who is headed into his senior season, played a key role for the Warriors in their historic run this spring.

He has enjoyed working with Howard as his battery mate.

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“He’s a really good kid and a good catcher,” Kachinsky said. “I can’t wait to see him next year. I’m really excited for what he’s going to become.”

Kachinsky went six innings Wednesday, allowing four earned runs on four hits and striking out six, including the final four hitters he faced.

“It took me a while to get the breaking ball down, but once I got it, I was pretty dominant, especially over those last couple innings,” Kachinsky said. “Once I got in a groove, it was good.”

Kachinsky feels the Warriors’ showing in the Lawler Classic will be beneficial come next spring.

“I’m glad we got a lot of JV kids up to get some experience,” he said. “It was good to find out some of those guys can really play. I’m really excited about next year.

“I think we’ve got a chance to do big things.”

Steve Millar is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.

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