ST. JOHN | It's a stable of pitchers any college baseball team would be envious of: four lefties and four righties, a few who can eat up innings and even some closers.
That's what Lake Central has to replace Taylor Lehnert and Jimmy McNamara, both of whom moved on to Central Michigan after the Indians won the Class 4A state title.
"It's just none of these guys throw as hard as college guys," Lake Central coach Jeff Sandor said. "The typical college staff throws 86-88 (miles per hour). We're going to throw it out there at 77-79, with a lot of guys that can do that."
The Indians might start a pitcher for four innings, then replace him with three one-inning relievers.
Deciding which will be the starters is the kind of competition the eight are ready to take on.
"The challenge is great," John Milaszewski said. "It forces us to do our best ever time."
Waiting in the wings while recovering from arm soreness is Brenden Seren, a 6-0 junior who is among the strongest athletes in the school, Sandor said.
Not on the initial list are Steve Fulk, a right fielder who can eat up innings, Ryan Burvan, who will be counted on at shortstop but who can be called on to throw, and Brad Staszewski, who will be needed at third base but his strong arm makes him a threat on the mound.
With that talent on the bench, even the pitchers who could be a No. 1 or 2 on other teams might find themselves pitching for the junior varsity, Sandor said.
"No matter how this shakes, if we get 28 games in at seven innings — and granted we're not going to play seven innings in every game, because we could have a home game or it could be a five-inning game or we could get 10-runned in five innings — but you're looking at 200 innings to divvy out," Sandor said. "That's about 25 innings each if we split it up evenly. We can't do that, because that would mean we have nobody ready to run it out there in a game three in a sectional championship who could give us a 100-pitch effort."
For instance, Glatt, who is slated to play at Dayton next season, threw eight innings for varsity last season, but 44 on JV.
The wealth of talent isn't unnoticed by the pitching staff. What they do with it will help determine how deep into the postseason the Indians play in their title-defending year.
"There's a lot of pressure," Kellams said. "Everyone is out to get us. That just make us want to work harder."