The Chargers baseball team has barely started the second half of district play and is trying to make it to the playoffs for the first time in the school’s history. With twelve seniors on the squad, a playoff bid would mean even more. Seniors Levi Ventz and Drew Bolin are strong team leaders on and off of the field.
“Levi is one of the better players on the team and he is our top hitter right now at .404,” said head coach Matt Holly. “He always seems to get hits when we need them and he scores the runs. He is a solid player all-around.”
In his third year on varsity, Ventz is starting at shortstop after several seasons at third base. “He gets to everything,” Holly said. “He has a great glove. He makes the routine plays but he also makes the spectacular plays and keeps everybody going.”
Ventz has a strong influence over the team’s mood.
“The team plays as Levi plays. If he is having a great game, it elevates the whole team. There may be days when he’s not feeling it and the rest of the team reflects how he acts,” Holly said. “It is a lot of pressure to have on him but he has done a great job of keeping his attitude up for the team and taking on that role of leader.”
Pitcher Bolin also plays a critical leadership role as an example of success through hard work and dedication.
“He gets everybody going,” Holly said. “He also works hard in the weight room and his focus and intensity on the field and in the dugout is contagious.”
The team record is 8-14-1 for the season and 2-6 in district, but Bolin has worked hard to keep opponent’s scores low.
“Drew has a .86 ERA right now and he has really worked himself into a role as a relief pitcher,” Holly said. “In five games he has come in with the bases loaded and has only given up a total of one run.”
As a dual-sport athlete, Bolin balances his roles on the football and baseball teams easily while also juggling a job and his studies.
“Drew is one of the hardest working kids I have ever coached. He is an All-State Academic player for football and works hard in the classroom and on the field,” Holly said. “As a linebacker and the quarterback of the defense, he is used to making calls and adjustments on the field so I knew he could come over and handle tough situations as a pitcher. He has handled every situation with flying colors.”
The left-hander credits the people around him for keeping him going in both sports.
“My coaches and teammates have kept my motivation up, and playing with and for them helps me love the sports even more,” he said. “My teammates are really fun and they want to win. That’s what I like.”
Bolin pitched as a freshman, then suffered an arm injury that kept him out of baseball his entire sophomore season.
“He got a little pitching time last year and has worked really hard to get his timing back,” said Holly. “It is a testament to his work ethic that he didn’t quit. He came back and pitches several times a week as a reliever. He wants the pressure. He wants to come in when we have the bases loaded. I’ve never coached a kid like that.”
Bolin wants to see his team reach new heights this year.
“I want to win and I work to get better every single day,” he said. “My goal is for us to be the first playoff team for Central and to have a winning season for our coach.”
The Chargers face Keller High School Tuesday night at 7 at KHS Stadium.
Both schools are collecting food donations at the game to help Keller Community Storehouse feed the 20-25 percent of Keller and Northwest ISD children who are living below the poverty line.
Non-perishable items are needed to fill weekend “snack-packs” and a complete list of needed snacks can be found at: www.leaguelineup.com/chschargerbaseball