WHEATON – In his dual role of punter and kicker on the Wheaton North football team, Lake Bachar’s leg proved to be a valuable commodity.
On the baseball diamond this spring, the senior showed his arm wasn’t too shabby either.
Entrenched as the ace of the pitching staff heading into the 2013 season, the right-hander tossed a team-high 73-2/3 innings, tallying an 8-1 record with a save.
Bachar, who also played right field, likewise proved his worth at the plate, batting .342 with 35 RBIs.
“Lake had an outstanding season,” said Wheaton North baseball coach Dan Schoessling. “We asked him to do a lot of things and he came through in every area. He produced on the mound, at the plate and also played a great right field for us.
“It was one of those things where if we were going to have a successful season, we needed him to have a successful season.”
That is exactly how things played out as Bachar’s all-around production played a role in the Falcons winning 27 games this season and reaching a sectional final.
“We had a really good team,” Bachar said. “We had a really strong defense this year and a good offense, too. Plus, we had a really good pitching staff. It was a lot of fun.”
Getting his start in baseball at the age of 4, Bachar would go on to play traveling ball with the Winfield Wolves. He also played soccer before switching over to football in the fifth grade.
A pitcher from the very beginning, Bachar said his thought process always has been the same.
“Just be as confident as I can be when I’m out there,” he said.
Bachar will take that mentality with him when he continues his athletic career at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Originally headed there for football, he now has decided to play both sports.
“It’s hard to give one up,” he said. “I love both sports.”
The recent graduate is walking into an outstanding sports program. The Warhawks have been in seven Division III national championship football games in the past eight years, winning four of them, while the baseball team finished with a 35-9 record this spring.
“I liked the competitiveness of the sports,” said Bachar, who expects to go into a math or sports major. “And I loved the campus. Everything about it drew me there.”
Here is the 2013 All-Area Baseball West team:
Lake BacharSchool: Wheaton NorthYear: Senior Along with playing good defense in right field, Bachar went 8-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 73-2/3 innings pitched and was selected as the Co-Pitcher of the Year in the DuPage Valley Conference. Offensively, he hit .342 with seven doubles, three home runs and 35 RBIs (second best on the team).
Tom CollettiSchool: Wheaton NorthYear: Senior Having missed virtually all of his junior season due to injury, Colletti's return to the lineup this year was a major storyline for the Falcons. Slotted into the No. 2 spot on the pitching staff, this senior went 7-1 with a 1.08 ERA in 51-2/3 innings pitched. He also hit .320 with a team-high 40 RBIs from the clean-up spot.
Will CornwellSchool: Glenbard SouthYear: Junior Though he cooled off late in the year after hitting over .600 for a portion of the season, this junior still had an outstanding campaign for the Raiders. Along with handling the catching duties, the left-handed hitting Cornwell batted .434 with 12 doubles and a team-high 32 RBIs.
Jake CousinsSchool: Wheaton AcademyYear: Senior This senior posted a 3-3 record with an ERA of 2.65 this spring, striking out 60 in only 39-2/3 innings of work. At the plate, Cousins hit .313 with five doubles, 11 runs scored and 10 RBIs and struck out only five times on the season.
Luke DomaskSchool: Glenbard WestYear: Junior In his first year on varsity, this junior did a great job of setting the table for the Hilltoppers. Hitting in the leadoff spot, Domask finished with a .381 batting average while compiling 14 stolen bases. A West Suburban Silver all-conference pick, he also played good defense in center field.
Matt FrawleySchool: Glenbard NorthYear: Senior This senior missed a couple of weeks on the mound late in the season but was still named Co-Pitcher of the Year in the DuPage Valley Conference. He finished with a 5-1 record, compiling an ERA of 1.47 while striking out 55 in 43 innings of work. At the plate, Frawley topped the team with 25 RBIs while hitting .289 with four homers.
Ethan GasbarroSchool: Glenbard SouthYear: Senior Featuring a fastball in the mid- to upper-80s, this senior posted a 2.05 ERA as the Raiders' staff ace, striking out 72 in 58 innings. Gasbarro also was a major contributor at the plate, batting .398 with eight doubles, two triples, two home runs, 23 RBIs and 32 runs scored.
Eric GiltzSchool: Wheaton Warrenville SouthYear: Sophomore This sophomore made quite an impression this spring, leading all Wheaton Warrenville South starters with his .358 batting average. The center fielder totaled seven doubles, one triple and a team-high five home runs while adding 32 runs scored and 19 RBIs. He also stole 12 bases.
Ryan KentSchool: Wheaton NorthYear: Senior A fixture at the top of the line-up for Wheaton North, this senior ended his outstanding high school career in fine fashion. The solid center fielder batted .347 with eight doubles, 17 RBIs and team-highs in both runs scored (39) and stolen bases (20).
Brandon KressnerSchool: Glenbard NorthYear: Senior Playing in all 31 games this spring for the Panthers, this shortstop finshed the season with a .364 batting average and .475 on-base percentage. Kressner tallied 11 doubles, two triples and one home run while scoring a team-high 26 runs and driving in 19. He also topped the team with nine stolen bases.
Johnny PeltzSchool: Wheaton NorthYear: Senior Hitting No. 3 in the Falcons' lineup, this senior led the team with 141 plate appearances. Peltz finished the spring with a .336 batting average, 11 doubles, three home runs, 33 runs scored and 21 RBIs. He also stole nine bases and made a smooth transition from third base to shortstop.
Jack PetrandoSchool: St. FrancisYear: Senior A major reason behind the Spartans' runner-up finish in Class 3A, Petrando contributed both as a pitcher and hitter. The right-hander went 7-1 on the mound with a 1.80 ERA in 39-1/3 innings. At the plate, he batted .353 with six doubles, 22 runs scored and 21 RBIs.
Ryan StortoSchool: Glenbard NorthYear: Senior A rare-three sport athlete, Storto ended his high school career in style. Playing first base for the Panthers, Storto hit a team-high .396 while also contributing nine doubles, two triples, a home run, 23 runs scored and 15 RBIs. He also struck out just six times in 111 plate appearances.
Jason SullivanSchool: St. FrancisYear: Sophomore One of the top sophomores in the area, Sullivan proved his worth this spring. Along with his duties at shortstop, he went 8-2 as the ace of the pitching staff, striking out 59 in 74 innings. Offensively, the sophomore batted .333 with three doubles, 25 runs scored and 14 RBIs.
Mike ZajacSchool: West ChicagoYear: Senior Though his final record on the mound might not show it, Zajac was one of the top pitchers in the DuPage Valley Conference this spring. Zajac posted a 2.98 ERA in 61 innings, allowing 60 hits while striking out 66. At the plate, he had two doubles, a home run and eight RBIs.
Honorable mentionGlenbard North: Jeff LaPageGlenbard South: Carl Sanders, Tony Tenuta, Nick YangasGlenbard West: Grant Greeno, Mitch MonocchioSt. Francis: Alex Alcantara, Andrew Brundage, Josh CrociWest Chicago: Connor Dall, Ryan KoesterWheaton Academy: Sam PernaWheaton North: Doug HayesWheaton Warrenville South: Rich O'Neil, Brett Struebing, Matt Walsh