Home International Lake Central’s confident Quinn O’Bryan will ‘execute in any situation.’ He offers...

Lake Central’s confident Quinn O’Bryan will ‘execute in any situation.’ He offers more and more reasons to believe.

4
0

Lake Central senior second baseman Quinn O’Bryan just goes about his business, or so it seems.

Coach Mike Swartzentruber referred to O’Bryan as a “silent assassin.”

“He doesn’t really say a whole lot,” Swartzentruber said. “He’s kind of quiet. But he’s a great teammate.”

Continuing to play outstanding defense, O’Bryan has hit .471 in the past six games for the Indians (22-9), who have won back-to-back Class 4A regional titles and will play Westfield (21-10) in the semifinals of the Class 4A Lafayette Jefferson Semistate at 10 a.m. Saturday.

For the season, the Roosevelt recruit is hitting .273 with 13 RBIs, spending much of the time in the No. 2 spot in the lineup.

“If you look at his stats, they’re not going to pop off the page,” Swartzentruber said. “But he’s had as many key hits as anybody we’ve had, with men in scoring position, tight games. Great defense and key hits are his specialty.

“He’s a good contact hitter. He can bunt. He handles the bat really well. He does a lot of things that I like guys at the top of the order to do. I trust him up there. I have confidence that he’s going to execute in any situation.”

O’Bryan went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI in Lake Central’s 2-0 regional win against Duneland Athletic Conference rival Chesterton. His single in the first inning drove in the first run.

Overall, O’Bryan has picked up the pace over the last several weeks. He’s 8-for-17 since May 18.

“My game’s always been mostly defense — I’m more of a defensive player,” O’Bryan said. “But earlier in the year, I struggled with the bat a little bit. But now the bat’s coming around.

“Baseball’s a weird game. One day you’re 3-for-3, the next day you’re 0-for-3. It’s the same swing. You’re the same guy. It just depends on the day.”

Lake Central’s Brenden Smith, left, and Quinn O’Bryan wait for a call during the Class 4A regional against Chesterton at the Steel Yard in Gary on Monday, June 3, 2024. (Kyle Telechan / Post-Tribune)

Even as he worked through those struggles, O’Bryan remained on an even keel.

“One of the things we talk about with our guys is consistency,” Swartzentruber said. “As a coach, the thing that frustrates you more than anything is when you have guys that are like a roller coaster with their level of play. Some days they’re really good, some days they’re off, some days you don’t know what you’re going to get.

“So guys who you know when you pencil them in the lineup and you have a pretty good idea about what you’re going to get out of them, that’s really nice for a coach. You have a comfort level there. And that’s what you have with Q.”

O’Bryan spent the first half of his sophomore season on the junior varsity team. An injury opened the door for varsity playing time, and he said he “fluctuated” between the two levels the rest of the season. Some of those opportunities came when it mattered most in the postseason.

“He made a couple of plays in the sectional and one in the regional that really saved us,” Swartzentruber said. “Even at that age, the moments weren’t too big for him. He could handle it.”

O’Bryan became the starting second baseman last season, hitting toward the bottom of the Indians’ stacked lineup.

“He didn’t have to be the main guy,” Swartzentruber said. “This year he’s had to assume a little bit of a bigger role.”

Including as a role model of sorts.

“Last year there definitely was a lot of senior leadership,” O’Bryan said. “Me being a senior this year, it means I have to step up and help these younger guys pave the way for kids behind them.”

O’Bryan has succeeded in making an impact.

“Quinn’s one of the biggest leaders on this team,” junior third baseman Ryder Fernandez said. “Everybody gets motivation from him. He brings everybody up with him. He always tries to make everyone better around him. He’s just a great teammate and leader.”

Even if O’Bryan doesn’t go about it in the flashiest of ways.

“Quinn’s been a key part of our teams the last two years, and he’s been an under-the-radar guy,” Swartzentruber said. “He’s not the fastest, he’s not the biggest, he’s not the strongest. He’s just a baseball player — a really good baseball player. He makes the right plays. He’s always in the right spots. He’s competitive. He just goes out there and plays winning baseball.”

O’Bryan aims to do whatever he can for Lake Central to keep winning.

“This team has a bunch of guys that I’ve played with since I was 6, 7 years old,” he said. “So being able to win with these guys, it’s definitely a proud moment for me.

“It means the world. A lot of these kids are my buddies growing up. Having this one last go-around is definitely pretty cool to have.”

Source link