Varsity Baseball | May 3, 2021

Lake Central’s Doug Loden a reliable power supply for Joliet Junior College baseball

Story By: Brian Waddle, nwitimes.com

Doug Loden

Lake Central grad Doug Loden has been like Christmas in the spring for Joliet Junior College baseball coach Greg Braun.

The freshman slugger has been quite the present, in other words.

“When we started fall practice — and I saw the power he had with hitting balls over the center field fence with a wood bat,” Braun said, “I suddenly knew we had the power left-handed bat we have been wanting for a long time.”

Loden leads the country at the NJCAA Division III level with 14 home runs. He also became the program’s single-season record holder — topping the 27-year-old mark by Hall of Famer Mark Gotts.

“Doug is aggressive at the plate — sometimes that hurts him as well — but that comes with the game at times,” Braun said. “He has been tremendous with two strikes and really does a great job of putting the ball in play.”

Loden is batting .333 on the season with 14 homers, 12 doubles, and 51 RBIs. He’s second in the country in runs batted in. As a pitcher, Loden has 58 strikeouts in 56 innings and three wins and three complete games. He also has an .800 slugging percentage.

Braun said he actually recruited Loden knowing he would pitch and have an opportunity to play in the field. But the slugger’s damage at the plate has turned into a positive all around as Loden throws every four or five days and also hits; on non-pitching days he’s at first base or left field.https://f8e298fe16970b7e7865b233be604e19.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

In other words, you can’t keep this slugger out of the lineup.

“When we started the season I didn’t DH him so he could concentrate on pitching, but as the season moved forward I knew we had to keep that bat in our lineup,” Braun said.

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