April 23, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – When Jolyn Lake made the switch from catcher to pitcher in junior high, it turned out to be a pretty good decision. Lake went on to become a standout pitcher for Okawville High School, leading the Rockets to a berth in the sectional finals two years ago.

Today, she is finishing up a stellar two-year career at John A. Logan College. Lake is presently 9-5 on the spring to lead the Volunteers. She is also tops in innings pitched with 88; earned-run-average (2.78); and strikeouts (52). She also has one save to her credit.

Last year, Lake was equally impressive, finishing 12-6 and being named to the Great Rivers Athletic All-Conference team.

“It’s meant a lot to me to be able to play college ball,” she said. “Not every athlete gets that option to play. I’ve enjoyed it all.”

Lake said her twin sister, Janel, used to pitch.

“We switched when we were in sixth or seventh grade,” she said. “There have been several times over the years where she has helped me get things ironed out.”

Lake, who is a fine all-around athlete, having competed in cross country and basketball at the prep level, said she pretty much knew by her senior year that softball was her best sport.

“That’s why I pushed myself to get better and I was fortunate enough to get the scholarship at Logan. It’s been a good fit. I’ve enjoyed my relationship with my teammates and the coaches. And the teachers have been great to work with these last two years.”

Lake said she was nervous about making the transition from high school to college ball, but once the games started, the nerves faded.

“I have never been one to think about things too much. I just go out there and try to make my pitches and beat the other team.”

Lake said her four pitches are fastball, splitter, dropball and change.

“Last year, my splitter was probably my best pitch. This year, I would say it’s my change. I don’t even throw my fastball that much. I’m not an overpowering pitcher, so what I do is try to make the batter hit it on the ground and let my defense go to work.”

Lake said most of the time, good pitch location results in wins. But there are some occasions when pitch selection and location aren’t good enough.

“Like the Southwestern Illinois and Lincoln Trail games,” she said. “Those are two I would like to have back.”

Lake also plays second base for the Vols when not pitching. Her defense has sparkled at times.

Logan head coach Bruce Jilek said Lake has done an outstanding job the last two seasons.

“Jolyn stepped up and became our No. 1 starter as a freshman and has continued her run of success this spring. She has a lot of energy and has been a real asset to our softball program – in the field as a second baseman as well as a pitcher.”

Jilek added that he is confident Lake will excel at Missouri Baptist.

“We wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors,” he said.

The sophomore has already accepted a scholarship offer to play ball this fall at Missouri Baptist University. She plans to major in special education and minor in psychology.

“It’s close to home, which allows my family to come and see a lot of my games. That was important to me,” Lake said.

For now, however, Lake said there is still some unfinished business with the Logan team.

“We play at Kaskaskia this weekend in the opening round of the Region 24 tournament,” she said. “We need to be playing our best ball of the year right now. I know we are capable. There is a lot of talent on this team. Now, we just have to go out and prove it.”

  

"We are a diverse learning and teaching community committed to improving individual life and society through high-quality, accessible educational programs and engaged learning opportunities."

Core Values: •RESPONSIBILITY •RESPECT •INTEGRITY •COMPASSION •SERVICE

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dr. Steve O’Keefe at 618-985-2828 ext. 8569 or email at steveokeefe@jalc.edu.