Baseball: Lake Central hopes deep pitching staff can replace aces, complement offense, defense
By LaMond Pope firstname.lastname@example.org March 29, 2013 11:30PM
Lake Central's (R-L) Alec Olund, Aaron Glatt, and Nick Kellams pose for a picture during practice held at Lake Central High School on Thursday March 28, 2013. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Lake Central won the Class 4A state baseball title last season.
Hebron made it all the way to the semifinals in Class 2A.
Morgan Township reached the Class 1A quarterfinals, and Griffith did likewise in Class 3A.
Which area teams will make a deep postseason run this year?
There are plenty of talented arms and bats. Georgia Tech and Dayton are among the college choices for some of the top hurlers.
Updated: May 1, 2013 3:44PM
Bad news for opponents hoping Lake Central takes a significant drop this season.
Coach Jeff Sandor believes this year’s baseball team is better in some areas than the 2012 Class 4A championship squad.
“Sometimes you are in a reloading phase. I really don’t think we’re in one of those,” Sandor said earlier this week. “I think we are better defensively. I think we are getting better offensively.
“We lose a little bit on the mound.”
He’s referring to Taylor Lehnert and Jimmy McNamara. Later, Sandor didn’t sugarcoat it.
“We lost the two best pitchers in the state,” Sandor said. “We are talking about two guys that combined for 150 innings, had 240 strikeouts and 24 walks.”
Lehnert went 11-0 with a 0.65 ERA. McNamara was 10-1 with a 0.82 ERA. Both are at Central Michigan.
The Indians plan on fighting the losses by using a variety of arms.
“We have a lot more pitchers than we did last year,” said Nick Kellams. “We have depth.”
Sandor said Lake Central has potentially 11 pitchers ready to go.
“We have guys that are going to go out there and throw strikes,” outfielder Alec Olund said. “We’re always going to have their backs. We’re just going to have to play really good defense behind them.”
Kellams is the most experienced of the group, pitching 29 innings. He went 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA.
Aaron Glatt threw 40 innings on the junior varsity team. He was added to the varsity roster late in the season, and pitched eight innings. Glatt went 1-0 with a 3.50 ERA.
“He learned how to pitch a lot last year,” Sandor said. “He got a great opportunity to watch two guys that really got after it and worked quickly. He brings a good fastball and a really good change-up to the plate. We’re really excited about him.”
Glatt is headed to Dayton next year.
“This year, it will be my responsibility to throw my innings so we’ll give the other guys rest when they need it,” Glatt said.
“The pressure is on to be as successful as we were last year. It’s going to be huge for us if we can get all the guys to throw well.”
Offensively, Kellams had a .387 batting average and a .528 on-based percentage in 2012. Olund (.348 average) and Ryan Burvan (.352 average) are the other two returning regulars.
“We’ve got a lot of speed coming up,” Olund said. “We are going to have to get on base, use our speed and cause some havoc. The middle of our lineup should do pretty well. We have some pop in the middle of the lineup. If we can get the bottom and top of the guys on base, we should be fine with the middle of the order. It should benefit us.”
Sandor didn’t offer any bold boasts of a repeat. He is taking a realistic approach to the start of the season.
“We are taking the philosophy that this is one heck of an experience and we all want to remember it forever, but we’ve all got to move on,” he said.
“… The key for our guys is to realize we’re not going to start 13-0 and we’re not going to finish with 19 consecutive wins. These guys are going to have to learn to face a little more adversity than last year. How we start, I’m not too concerned with wins and losses. Come game 20, we want to know our rotation, the starting lineup and we want to be tournament ready.”