Varsity Baseball | May 13, 2016

Lake Central pitchers on magical, record-setting stretch

Lake Central zeroed in on two national records, but few players on the team knew they were chasing history.

The Indians entered a May 7 game against Northridge with shutouts in eight consecutive games. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations’ record book, the 2005 Homer, Mich., team was the only other school which had accomplished the feat.

With one more shutout, Lake Central would have the record to itself. And in the process, the team also neared the mark for most consecutive scoreless innings.

Lake Central accomplished both with a 10-0 victory.

“I don’t think that streak would have ever lasted as long as it did if the kids had a clue that it was going on,” Lake Central coach Jeff Sandor said. “Nobody really knew.”

The nine straight shutouts and streak of 62 2/3 scoreless innings came to an end Tuesday against LaPorte.

Jamesville, N.C., and South San Francisco El Camino in California previously held the record with 56 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. South San Francisco El Camino set the mark in 1977, and Jamesville matched it in 1979.

Lake Central pitcher Matt Litwicki pointed to team defense.

“Every practice we set out to get better defensively, do the little things right,” Litwicki said. “The pitching staff, we work our butts off with (assistant) Brett Summers. We focus on throwing strikes. Little did we know, we were at 60 (innings). It was something magical.”

Litwicki, Joe Graziano, Kyle Freel, Conner Tomasic, Jason Lamont, Ethan Darter and Jake Wisniewski pitched during the scoreless streak.

“They threw a whole lot of strikes, and our defense in that whole string of games made three errors,” Sandor said. “They threw strikes, and we got leads. When you get leads, it relaxes you as a pitcher. It’s easier to go out and throw strike one. And if you’re strike one, the odds of the hitter drops tremendously.”

Lake Central has a school-record 15 shutouts this season. Catcher Jarrett Lopez gave part of the credit to the pitching staff’s depth.

“We had seven pitchers do their job, and our defense was amazing,” Lopez said. “We had a lot of big plays made all around.”

Darter threw a no-hitter against Clark on May 6 for the eighth consecutive shutout to tie the record. He struck out 11. Freel went all five innings when Lake Central set both records the next day.

“It’s unparalleled,” Sandor said. “And we have no goal of achieving that again ever. We have a goal of having a few more runs than the other team we play.”

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