Niagara Gazette —
Down four players who'd been staples of Wilson baseball in recent history, the Lakemen have jumped out to a 4-1 start this season, thanks to a commitment to defense and some solid pitching.
Led by seniors Brad Schlosser, Cam Sidote, Pat Diez and Tyler Strassburg, the Lakemen finished third in the Niagara-Orleans league last season. They won two games in sectionals, including a 12-inning marathon over JFK, then saw their season end in a blowout loss to league rival Roy-Hart just one day later.
"We played until it was dark (against JFK)," Wilson coach Mark Kurtz said. "Then we got Roy-Hart, and they just crushed us. They played really well, so I couldn't say we would've beaten them (if we were rested), but it probably would've been closer."
The quartet will be replaced by a trio this season. Chris Reid, Mike Thompson and Taylor Thilk — all four-year varsity players — will serve as captains and Kurtz's go-to guys. Thilk and Reid will handle most of the pitching workload, while Thompson leads the defense from shortstop.
"(Thilk) had a really good year last year at the plate, and he's a guy who can play everywhere," Kurtz said. "He's even caught a couple games.
"This year, he's pitching, and he's been great. He shutout Starpoint (in a 3-0 win) and came in for the fifth inning and shut down Albion (in Wednesday's 9-5, come-from-behind win)."
Kurtz has a total of seven seniors on his 11-man roster. Joining Reid, Thompson and Thilk are Dan Nugent, Derek Martin, Joe DeLisi and Ryan Hecko.
Nugent will plug in and play everywhere for the Lakemen ("When you only have 11 kids, you don't really have a choice," Kurtz quipped.), while Martin forms a lethal defensive tandem playing second base next to Thompson.