PREP BASEBALL

Mesarch a steady presence for Portage baseball team

2013-05-31T17:00:00Z 2013-05-31T19:58:36Z Mesarch a steady presence for Portage baseball teamJim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com

It was a rollercoaster spring for Portage on its way to a sectional championship.

Through it all, Eric Mesarch was a constant.

"Baseball's mostly a mental game," Mesarch said. "I've always been the kind of person who can strike out three times, then come up in a big situation and have the confidence to do it. I'm a guy who's persevered through situations like that. I can forget about my past at-bats or errors and keep a cool head."

After a hot start, Portage fell on hard times. During some shuffling, Mesarch was moved across the diamond from first to third base.

"We've had a lot of ups and downs, but he was the one guy who maintained a level of consistency," coach Tim Pirowski said. "He handled the transition great. He's played great defense and he's had a great year at the plate. He's not that far off (2012 North Al-Star) Gabe (Acevedo) as far as production."

The move to the hot corner wasn't a drastic one for Mesarch. He played third base much of his career prior to his junior season, when he worked his way into the lineup at second after starting out as a reserve. In the preseason, Pirowski told him his plans were to have him at first.

"I was a little surprised, but at that point, I was like, 'Just tell me where you want to put me and I'll get the job done,'" said Mesarch, who played on three teams last summer. "I could really play anywhere. I moved to third and we just rolled with it the rest of the way."

Through it all, the Indians followed their captain's direction, both in word and action. He is hitting .364 with 32 RBIs.

"Leading's not what it used to be," Pirowski said. "You yell at somebody now, they (get mad). When things aren't going well, Eric's good at getting it back on track. The kids respond to him. He cares. He works his tail off. He wants to do well and does all the right things. It's a lot easier to take, coming from somebody like that."

The role was one Mesarch accepted without reservation.

"We had a lot of first-year varsity guys and I knew I was going to have to step up," he said. "I'm not afraid to tell someone if they're doing something wrong. It's not to hurt them. It's to help. I want everybody on the team to succeed in every way possible and it's my job not only to keep myself cool, but my teammates, too."

It was a lot easier during Portage's 10-2 start than its 4-10 Duneland Athletic Conference finish, but the Indians regained their mojo at the right time.

"I knew if we could keep our composure and play the way Portage baseball is played, we could beat anybody," Mesarch said. "It's amazing what can happen. That's just the magic of this team. I'm happy we got through that (18-year) sectional drought. Obviously, we're not done yet, but winning that sectional title is something I'll remember forever."

When it's all done, Mesarch knows it could be the end of his competitive baseball. The academic all-stater ranks fourth in a class of 587 with a grade point average of 4.55 and will attend Valparaiso University. He's considering walking on with the Crusaders.

"I know I'm not going to get drafted," he said. "I made my college decision based on what was best for my academic part. It'll be a bittersweet moment, but I'm looking forward to a new experience and meeting new people."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Who was the area's best baseball player this season?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses