|Lake Bachar spends his spring as a starting pitcher for the nationally ranked UW-Whitewater Warhawks.
By Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
By Erik Buchinger
GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - UW-Whitewater star pitcher Lake Bachar has been skyrocketing up MLB prospect rankings just two years after he thought his baseball playing days were over.
Bachar is ranked No. 100 in Baseball America’s College Top 100 Draft Prospects and No. 90 in MLB.com’s prospect rankings.
“It’s been pretty crazy,” Bachar said. “At one point, I thought I would never play baseball again after high school.”
An all-conference selection in football and baseball at Wheaton North High School in Illinois, Bachar enrolled at UW-Whitewater in 2013 and played on the football team.
Following Bachar’s freshman season as a punter and kicker for the Warhawks, Whitewater’s then-football coach Lance Leipold preferred him to concentrate on spring football practice, according to Bachar.
“He wanted me there for spring ball, so I could get more adjusted,” Bachar said. “I asked him again in my sophomore year, and he was kind of giving me the option but also tried to discourage me from playing baseball a little bit.”
In December 2014, Leipold left Whitewater to take the head coaching position at the University of Buffalo. Kevin Bullis took over the Warhawks, and Bachar said he was fine with him being a two-sport athlete at Whitewater.
“When we got the new head coach, I asked him, and he was all for it,” Bachar said. “I felt a lot more comfortable asking him, and that’s how I got back into baseball.”
In his first season on the baseball team in 2015, Bachar finished with a 7-1 record and a 2.24 earned run average. His performance earned him D3Baseball.com Midwest Region Rookie of the Year and third Team All-Midwest Region honors.
“When I got back into it, I found a love for the game again, but I never expected to be this high of a draft prospect,” Bachar said.
|Lake Bachar spends his fall (and winter, usually) as kicker and punter for the UW-Whitewater football team.
By Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
Following his freshman baseball season, Bachar joined the Lakeshore Chinooks of the Northwoods League for the summer.
In 11 starts, Bachar posted a 2.46 earned run average and ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Northwoods League on Baseball America’s 2015 Summer College League Top Prospects Index.
Bachar said after his experience playing with the Chinooks, he first recognized the potential he had to play baseball professionally.
“At the end of the Northwoods League season is when I realized I can play at that level,” Bachar said. Now in his sophomore season as a baseball player at Whitewater, Bachar currently holds an 8-5 record with a 2.66 earned run average.
When his team needed him most, Bachar came through in the Central Regional championship on May 21. Two days after he earned a win against Augustana (Ill.), Bachar pitched a gem against Rose-Hulman to win the regional title. He threw a complete game, allowing one earned run on six hits with nine strikeouts, as the Warhawks came away with a 5-3 victory to advance to the Division III World Series.
“All of my coaches who helped me with my mechanics really made me the pitcher I am,” Bachar said. “When I came in, I was pretty raw I guess you could say. I had a lot of mechanical issues, and my coaches really helped me with that.”
With the MLB draft creeping up on June 9-11, Bachar said his attention remains solely on his current situation.
“I just live in the present,” Bachar said. “I’m not trying to focus on anything in my future. There’s a time and a place for that, and whenever I’m on the field, everything is in the present.”
In addition to winning national titles with Whitewater’s football team in 2013 and 2014, Bachar has a unique opportunity to reach the ultimate goal of a championship in multiple sports.
“That would be pretty awesome,” Bachar said. “I don’t know of many people who have done that, so that would be pretty cool.”