Prep of the Week: Lyle-Pacelli Baseball

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(ABC 6 News) — In 2021, the Athletics were a win away from State before losing to Hayfield. In 2022, it was the same result against the Vikings.

Back-to-back section title losses left quite the lingering sour taste; but this year, Athletics Baseball has — and is still out to prove Section 1A is theirs for the taking.

“I would say the biggest thing for us is getting ahead early,” sophomore player Hunter VaDeer assessed. “That’s what we try to do all the time, never get behind the counts always be shooting for the two strikes and we got it from there.”

A major part of their success is a quality starting lineup consisting of VaDeer and Isaac Nelsen as well as Jack Klingfus, Mac Nelson and Jake Truckenmiller. The corps at one point combined for a 1.8 ERA, demonstrating just how difficult it is to get a hit on L-P.

“Got to put in that work in the offseason, but we’ve all thrown significantly harder than we did last year,” Nelsen, a junior, added. “So that’s really what has helped us this year. We have the control down from last year and previous outings, so we have that experience too.”

The team still feels that its hitting isn’t at its best. But Lyle-Pacelli has been reaching the bases even if they have to walk there. Their poise at the plate has been crucial in doing so, not budging until they have the perfect window.

“I feel like the first team that we played where we really hit the ball was the first game against Southland,” Nelsen recalled. “The second game went poorly, but the first game we were all on, we were hitting the ball. Hunter threw strikes then Jack came in, Mac, they were all throwing strikes. So that was just a good cohesive win.”

All it takes is the right swing at the right moment. It’s helped Lyle-Pacelli get this far and why they feel this is their time to reach the State Tournament.

“Our goal is definitely to go all the way, win it all,” VaDeer said. “Looking for big things this year. This is our year to do it. We got a lot of returning players from last year. We’re only losing one senior, so we’ve got a lot of guys with a lot of experience.”