Baseball: Carmel Catholic’s Bucsa plays the game right way
Carmel's Blake Bucsa is hitting .414 with runners in scoring position. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media .
Updated: June 11, 2012 9:07AM
Over the past 20 years, advertisers have taught us how to be like Mike, as in Michael Jordan.
For the next 20, the pitch may be for 19-year-old baseball phenom Bryce Harper. The Washington Nationals five-tool star with the rat-tail haircut has a super fan in Blake Bucsa.
“He runs out every ground ball, will drop a bunt down, goes hard for every fly ball,” said Bucsa, Carmel’s senior second baseman. “They talk about him being cocky but that’s how you become good.”
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Bucsa may not have all the tools possessed by Harper — nor the haircut — but he’s making an impact on a just-hitting-their-stride Corsairs team.
A returning starter at second base, Bucsa has adopted his idol Harper’s penchant for clutch play. He is second on the team with a .414 batting average with runners in scoring position. Showing he can drive the ball into the gaps, Bucsa is tied for the team lead in doubles (5) and is second in stolen bases (7). Those statistics reveal a versatility that mirrors Harper’s, the end game being winning baseball.
“We’ve asked him to be a leader, not just physically but emotionally,” said coach Joe May. “He’s an even-keel guy. The other guys believe in him.”
While Harper gives credit to his baseball idols such as Pete Rose and Ty Cobb for shaping his on field personality, Bucsa understands he didn’t get to be a varsity starter without influences along the way. Having come up through the Mundelein Park District, he played for Full Package, Top Tier and the Lake County Lightning travel teams. Mentors are his father Bill, and Ray Borucki, who’s son Ryan is currently a senior at Mundelein High School and will be playing at the University of Iowa next season.
“He (his dad) has been a great influence and inspiration,” said Bucsa. “He’s a great coach and he’s always taught me the right things to do.”
Such as laying down a bunt if the third baseman is playing back, or running out every at-bat. Basically, making life miserable for the opposing pitcher.
Sound like anyone you know?
“You can’t fear anyone. That’s the way I want to play the game,” said Bucsa. “I know I’m going to make a play, I’m just thinking what am I going to do when I get it.”
Bryce Harper already knows. Blake Bucsa’s on his way.
Recap: Behind two strong arms, Carmel (16-8, 8-2) is making a serious run at an East Suburban Catholic title. The 1-2 punch of Alex Young and Matt Ryan is becoming as formidable as any in the conference.
On Saturday, they threw back-to-back shutouts over Marist. Ryan (6-1) went the distance in the first game, allowing just four hits while striking out six as Carmel won 4-0. He was helped by his pitching mate Young on offense, who played centerfield and got two hits (2-for-3) and an RBI. Michael Stahoviak, Sean Brennan and Bucsa each drove in a run.
In the second game, Young (7-1) struck out 10, while allowing three hits over five innings in a 5-0 Corsairs’ win. Quentin Sefcik finished the game, throwing two scoreless innings. Nico Caracciolo hit a double (2-for-4), while Tyler Murphy (2-for-4) triple.
Check out these stats: in 28 2/3 innings this season, Young has allowed just six hits, striking out 51 with just 13 walks. He has an ERA of 0.31.
“With Young and Ryan, we are going to be in any game they pitch,” said May. “The last few weeks they’ve been amazing and all we’ve needed is a little bit of offense.”
On May 2, Carmel defeated Notre Dame 1-0. Sefcik got the win with a save from Ryan.
On the schedule: The Corsairs host Benet Saturday in a doubleheader with the first game at 10 a.m. Game two is scheduled for 12 p.m.