Senior leadership leads Lake baseball to 27-1 season

Mark Griffin

Strong pitching and team chemistry were two things Lake’s baseball team was able to rely on this season.
The Flyers cruised through the regular season, going unbeaten for the first time in coach Greg Wilker’s 35 years at the helm.
“In baseball, that’s unheard of,” Wilker said.
Lake, which was ranked 11th in the final Division III state coaches’ poll, finished with a 27-1 record and went 14-0 in the Northern Buckeye Conference. It was the Flyers’ fourth NBC title since 2012.
Wilker said he will remember this team for its unselfishness.
“I have nine seniors and four of them (pitcher/first baseman Matt Pindoley, pinch runner Drew Agler, third baseman Jaron Henry and backup catcher Trevor Locknane) didn’t play a whole lot,” Wilker said. “It was a great year for our seniors. All five seniors who started were first-team (All-NBC), and the four seniors who didn’t start worked as hard as they could to make themselves and their teammates better. In this day and age, that’s unusual.
“They talk about chemistry on a team, and those four (helped provide) the chemistry on the team.”
Senior second baseman Harry Jackson was voted the Player of the Year in the NBC after batting .478 (44-for-92) with eight doubles, seven triples, two home runs, 35 RBI, 34 runs and 14 stolen bases.
Senior right-hander Jacob Boelkens was named the conference’s pitcher of the year after going 9-1 with a 1.66 ERA in 54.2 innings. He struck out 72 and walked 15. Senior righty Austin Fouty was voted the team MVP, earning first-team All-NBC honors after going 9-0 with an 0.32 ERA. He allowed just one earned run all season and finished with 82 strikeouts in 53 innings.
Junior Bronson Medley had a 4-0 record on the mound and helped Lake’s staff put together a 1.14 team ERA, the lowest in Wilker’s tenure.
“Our pitchers were dominant,” Wilker said. “They threw strikes and we threw numerous shutouts. We only had 65 walks and we had 228 strikeouts on the year, and that staff ERA makes coaching a little easier.”
Pindoley was voted the team’s most improved player by his peers.
“He played as a freshman, but he didn’t play as a sophomore or junior,” Wilker said. “He could have been a very good player. He played very little this year, but the kids could see how much he improved from his freshman year to the end of this year, so they voted him the most improved player.”
Junior shortstop Scott Mackiewicz had a .371 batting average with five doubles, two triples, two home runs, 18 RBI and 25 runs to earn first-team All-NBC honors.
“He was injured the first couple weeks,” Wilker said, “but he had an outstanding season at shortstop.”
Senior outfielder Luke Walsh was a first-team all-conference pick after batting .333 with four doubles, one home run and 18 RBI
“Luke played an outstanding right field,” Wilker said. “He has a very strong throwing arm and not many teams tried to run on him.”
Senior catcher Dawson Delventhal, a first-team all-conference pick, batted .327 and led the team with 22 walks and a .547 on-base percentage while batting sixth in the lineup. Wilker praised the job Delventhal did defensively.
“We had under double-digit stolen bases against us because he has such a strong arm,” the coach said. “He shut down other teams’ running game and was a big reason for our pitchers’ success. They weren’t afraid to throw the ball in the dirt because they knew he would block it for them. He was a three-year starter who worked hard to improve every year.”
Medley, who also played in the outfield, was a second-team All-NBC pick after batting .350 with 30 RBI, eight doubles and 24 runs.
“He was our No. 3 hitter and drove in a lot of runs,” Wilker said. “He was injured as a sophomore and didn’t play, so this was his first year playing varsity. He blew out his knee in football. We knew he was a very good player and we were happy with what he was able to do coming off the knee injury.”
Sophomore outfielder Jaxon Delventhal was named honorable mention All-NBC after tying for the team lead in doubles with eight and batting .327 with 21 RBI.
“He was our No. 9 hitter who did a tremendous job,” Wilker said.
The Flyers opened postseason play with a 12-2 win over rival Eastwood, then beat Sherwood Fairview, 8-1, in the district semifinal. Lake then lost to top-ranked Archbold, 15-0, in the district championship game on May 25. The Flyers committed four errors in the first inning that led to eight runs by the Blue Streaks.
“We played good defense all year,” Wilker said. “It just snowballed last Saturday and we couldn’t stop the bleeding. We only gave up 47 runs all season, and 15 of them were in third tournament game. We outscored our opponents 239-47, including the Archbold game. To me, that was the biggest surprise.”


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