CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Marian Catholic third baseman Brad Bohlen found a simple trick to improving his batting average and helping his team.
"I just stopped worrying about individual stats and focused more on doing things to help the team," Bohlen said. "Last year, I was a little more concerned with my own stats."
Last year, Bohlen hit .283 with six doubles and 30 hits as the Spartans won the Class 3A title. This year, they are in Class 4A.
"Last year, I had more of an open stance," Bohlen said. "I switched to a closed one and it has helped me make better contact."
It has worked as Bohlen is batting .470 and a .517 on-base percentage. He has 47 hits, 39 RBIs, 16 doubles and 23 runs. He is eight hits and 39 shy of tying Scott Baiker's single-season program record of 55 and 46, both set in 1986.
"I really am not that concerned with my individuals except that it brings in a run or by my getting on base, if it helps us get a rally going," Bohlen said. "If you get on, somebody here will bring you in. We have a good leadoff man in Lusicarlo Avila, so there are usually men on base."
He also bats in the No. 3 spot, where he was No. 4 or No. 5 last year.
"Sometimes, you can be the third out, but there is usually someone on and they don't want to pitch to our clean-up," Bohlen said. "I have got a lot of good pitches to hit."
He is excited for the playoffs to begin and Marian will be at the Class 4A T.F. North Regional.
Last year, it won the Class 3A T.F. North Regional. The Spartans will face Homewood-Flossmoor on Thursday in one semifinal.
"We are looking forward to playing them again," Bohlen said. "It is a good rivalry and we know we will be in for a good game."
Bohlen will play at Northern Kentucky, where his brother Jeff played. His dad, Jeff, is a Midwest scout for the Texas Rangers.
"I have always played baseball," Bohlen said. "I am lucky because my older brother and my dad have been a big help."