Written by Nicholas Huenefeld
May 16, 2008
The Lake baseball program is having another competitive season in a tough conference, thanks in part to another solid season from senior outfielder Tim Decant.
Decant set a single season school record last year with 31 stolen bases while hitting .500 on his way to a first-team All-SLL and first-team All-Ohio selection.
This year, he leads the team with a .450 average and 26 stolen bases. This past Monday, he set the school record for stolen bases in a career with his sixty-sixth swipe.
“He’s had a heck of a year,” Wilker said.
Decant will move on to play in college likely at Bowling Green State University or Owens Community College.
Decant isn’t the only player hitting the ball for Lake as the team features three other players hitting over .300 including Greg Hillabrand at .420, Taylor Barteck at .316 and Ryan Hotmer at .304. Hillabrand leads the team in rbi’s with 21 and Hotmer has 18 rbi’s.
Wilker said his team is not going to pound the ball, shown with Hotmer leading the team in home runs with two, but they have good team speed and have featured solid pitching.
“Our pitching has kept us in a lot of games,” he said.
That pitching staff is led by senior Aaron Swartz who, after throwing a complete game shut out against Woodmore this past Monday, moved his season record to 5-0 and his era to 0.86. Another senior, Ryan Ray, is 3-4 with a 3.31 era, along with one save.
“He (Ray) has thrown against some tough opponents,” Wilker said.
At 14-8 overall and 5-5 in the conference, Wilker, who has high expectations for his team every year, said his team has remained competitive in a league that is very good. Elmwood, ranked tenth in the state, is undefeated in the Suburban Lakes League while Genoa has two losses.
Wilker’s team has also had some close games along with some tough losses this year.
“We beat a good Eastwood team in eight or nine innings, lost a pitchers battle against Elmwood 2-0 and lost in eight innings to Genoa after leading 1-0 heading into the top of the seventh inning,” he said. “We’ve had no easy games.”
Along with Ray, Decant and Hillabrand, Frankie Sauceda, Alex Campbell and Evan Prielipp comprise a group of six seniors who stepped up their roles this year after having minor roles last season for the most part.
“They’ve all done a nice job stepping in this year,” Wilker said.
Lake, who has won five league titles, four district titles (’85, ’90, ’01, ’03) and one regional title (’01) under Wilker, was looking to capture the sectional title this past Thursday. If they happened to advance, they would play Thursday May 22 at Defiance in the districts.
Lake is scheduled to finish their regular season with road games against Otsego on Tuesday and Eastwood on Wednesday.