Tremendous trio earns accolades for stellar performances

Yaneek Smith

Press Sports Editor

It was the finest season in program history, and that’s saying something considering the history of Lake baseball. The Flyers went 28-5, good for the program record in wins, and advanced to the Division III state final before falling to Heath, 3-1, to finish as the runner-up.
Lake’s first six postseason games saw them score 40 runs while winning each game by at least four runs. In the regional semifinals, the Flyers beat Wynford, 6-1, which was preceded by victories over Ottawa Hills (8-4), Otsego (10-6) and Evergreen (6-0).
Lake junior Drew Tajblik was named the Alan Miller Jewelers’ Pitcher of the Year for his efforts, going 12-0 with a 1.31 ERA. He pitched 90.2 innings, striking out 113 batters and walking just 23.
“I would say Drew had probably the best individual season in probably the best Lake season in history,” said Lake coach Casey Witt. “He’s our ace, and the accolades he’s gotten are really well-deserved.”
Tajblik received all but one vote, the other going to Clay senior Vinny Gallaher, who went 6-0 with a 0.33 ERA. (Gallaher will continue his career at the collegiate level at Eastern Michigan University.)
Tajblik and Gallaher were the only unanimous selections at pitcher.
The other unanimous selections were Eastwood’s Drew Kachmarik (first base), Andrew Badenhop (third base) and Paul Lautzenheiser (designated hitter/utility); Oak Harbor’s Tim Marquette (third base) and Cooper Schultz (outfield); Lake’s Jay Blazevich (second base) and Jack Sobzack (designated hitter/utility) and Clay’s Brock Fussell (second base).
Witt, who was in his third season, was unanimously selected as the Coach of the Year.
“It’s certainly a great honor,” said Witt. “But in my opinion, it’s an extension of how good our coaching staff is, their preparation and commitment to the kids in the program, and how good of a job they did.”
His two varsity assistants are Brandon Maze and Matt Kruzel, and Luke Hickey and Matt Kohlhofer coach the JV team.
It was a fun ride for the Flyers.
“To say it was memorable probably doesn’t do it justice,” said Witt. “To be able to live this experience with this group of players and coaches is something that I know I will cherish for the rest of my life, and I’d say everyone in our dugout feels the same way.”
Next season, Lake will come back ready to go in hopes of making another tremendous run.
“It’s probably cliché, but we’ll try to get better each day once next season starts. We’ve got eight letter winners coming back, and I’m excited for some of our young guys. Now our guys have gotten a taste of what it’s like to make a deep run. I know they’ll come back committed and try to replicate something similar.”
As for Gallaher, who also played shortstop, he was named the Offensive Player of the Year after hitting .438 to go with 11 doubles and 24 RBIs.
Oak Harbor’s Brayden Butzin received three votes — one less than Gallaher — and his teammate, Tim Marquette, got two votes.

Pitcher of the Year: Drew Tajblik, Lake
Offensive Player of the Year: Vinnie Gallaher, Clay
Coach of the Year: Casey Witt, Lake
First team
P — Vinny Gallaher, Clay
P — Drew Tajblik, Lake
C — Brayden Butzin, Oak Harbor
C — Gavin Kohlhofer, Lake
1B — Drew Kachmarik, Eastwood
1B — Alex Rife, Oak Harbor
2B — Brock Fussell, Clay
2B — Jay Blazevich, Lake
SS — Vinny Gallaher, Clay
SS — Drew Tajblik, Lake
3B — Andrew Badenhop, Eastwood
3B — Tim Marquette, Oak Harbor
OF — Brandon Falls, Eastwood
OF — Cooper Schultz, Oak Harbor
OF — Drake Sekinger, Clay
OF — C.J. Boudreaux, Clay
DH/UT — Paul Lautzenheiser, Eastwood
DH/UT — Reese Walby, Gibsonburg
DH/UT — Jack Sobzack, Lake

Second team
P — C.J. Boudreaux, Clay
P — Nolan Hoover, Gibsonburg
C — Noah Schacht, Clay
C — Xander Greulich, Eastwood
1B — Caleb Tobias, Lake
1B — Luke Jeremy, Clay
2B — Connor Norton, Eastwood
2B — Keil Almroth, Woodmore
SS — Nolan Hoover, Gibsonburg
SS — Alex Spencer, Genoa
3B — Chuy Rodriguez, Gibsonburg
3B — Ryan Wagner, Lake
OF — Kadyn Donnell, Eastwood
OF — Grant Dawson, Gibsonburg
OF — Aiden Young, Lake
OF — Michael Seeger, Woodmore
DH/UT — Nolan Bickelhaupt, Oak Harbor
DH/UT — Grady Spears, Clay
DH/UT — Connor Eck, Lake

Honorable Mention: Myles Mollenhauer, Genoa; Korbin Adkins, Lake; Jaxon Magnone, Genoa; Al Sutton, Clay; Colton Woodward, Eastwood; Michael LaLonde, Oak Harbor; Calvin Lipstraw, Woodmore; Evan Millner, Genoa; Jake Hall, Gibsonburg; Paul Lautzenheiser, Eastwood; Ryan Wagner, Lake; Andrew Badenhop, Eastwood; Kadyn Donnell, Eastwood; Elijah Welling, Genoa; Trace Murphy, Woodmore; Parker Hahn, Woodmore; Brayden Myerholtz, Oak Harbor


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