Niles’ Lake lets his play do the talking

Published 7:02 am Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Niles’ Bryce Lake leads by example. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Niles’ Bryce Lake leads by example. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Even when he was struggling with his hitting, Bryce Lake’s attitude remained the same as a baseball player at Niles High School.

“He’s a leader,” Niles baseball coach Mike Vota said. “He leads by the way he plays and how he carries himself. Even when he was struggling (offensively), I didn’t see him getting down and the team didn’t see that. You can never be a leader if you let the game beat you. He always rises to the bar, instead of trying to lower the bar to get to him.”

Lake led by example before the Vikings game Friday against Shaker Heights (Ohio). Instead of relaxing after his classes, Lake worked on his hitting.

The extra work paid off as Lake boosted his batting average from .111 to .357. The Niles junior collected four hits and drove in five runs to lead the Vikings past the Raiders, 13-7. Lake easily could have had five hits as his only out was a line out to left field.

“We tweaked a couple things and (against Shaker Heights) he was one fire,” Vota said . “It shows his dedication and commitment to being good and being a team leader.”
Lake gave credit to others for helping him break out of his batting slump.

“(Coach Vota) tweaked my swing a little bit and it seemed to work,” Lake said. “Also, my teammates really pushed me and kept me going. They’ve given me a positive boost.”

Lake felt comfortable playing at Four Winds Field in South Bend. Along with his hitting success, Lake stole two bases and allowed only earned run, five hits and struck out four over three innings of relief pitching.
Before he took the mound, Lake started at shortstop and fielded cleanly three of the four grounders hit to him.

Versatility makes Lake valuable to the Vikings baseball team. During his three-year varsity career, has played every position but catcher, first base, center field and right field. Primarily, he’s played shortstop and third base.

“Shortstop is awesome to play, but it’s fun to play third base as well,” Lake said. “You get a lot of action there (at third base). You’ve just got to come get the ball, have some fun and have confidence in yourself.”

Vota isn’t afraid to put Lake at any position on the diamond.

“He’s done a little bit of everything,” the Niles baseball coach said. “He’s a little bit of our jack of all trades. If we need him to he can play in the outfield. I think he’d catch if I asked him to.”

Lake was asked if he acts any different now being an upperclassman on the baseball team.

“Not really,” he said. “I feel like I have to bring the same thing every year.”

Lake has never slumped when it comes to being a good baseball teammate.