By Dennis Garcia
Playing in a summer collegiate baseball league after a long, grueling college season can be difficult. But sometimes, a player can find something that may have been missing during his collegiate season.
Lance Blaszak certainly found something last summer after his freshman season at Northwood University in Midland, Mich.
The 6-2, 200-pound right-hander was disappointed with his first collegiate season, a season in which he appeared in only five games and finished with an ERA of 11.12.
But while playing with the Royal Oak Leprechauns of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, Blaszak put it all together, earning All-Star and then All-League honors after not allowing a single run in 15 innings of work.
“I made a couple of adjustments, gained more confidence and composure on the mound,” said Blaszak, who will be pitching for the Asheboro Copperheads in the 2022 season. “I played looser.”
In all last summer, Blaszak was 1-0 with four saves. He gave up just 11 hits in 15 innings, walked five and fanned 12. He finished with a 0.00 ERA.
“We are very excited to have Lance coming to Asheboro next summer,” Asheboro Head Coach and General Manager Jeremy Knight said. “The experience he had in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League will be a valuable tool for him coming into the Coastal Plain league. Lance’s stats and all-star selection this past summer shows how good he can be. Lance will play a vital role for us next summer and we look forward to keeping up with him this spring.”
Blaszak said he began working on a splitter and never had the opportunity to use it a great deal at Northwood. When the summer came, he used that pitch to help him become one of the best relievers in the league.
“I was able to throw it more in the summer and I became comfortable with that pitch,” Blaszak said. “
In the GLSCL All-Star Game, he pitched a shutout inning with a walk and one strikeout.
As expected, there were many adjustments that had to be made when arriving at Northwood from Saline High School.
“It was a learning experience, getting used to college baseball,” Blaszak said. “It was good learning from older players and coaches.”
This season, Blaszak said he is hoping to become the Timberwolves’ setup man or closer.
“We had our fall meetings and the coaching staff said it was mine to go after,” Blaszak said of the closer role.
After a year in the GLSCL, Blaszak said he’s looking forward to playing in the Coastal Plain League.
“I’m really excited to meet new dudes and play competitive baseball,” Blaszak said. “My goal is to get better and learn from people, learn everything I can to get better.”