Sometimes timing is everything and Keith Lehmann picked a date to shine: July 23.
The ace of Lyons’ starting pitching staff opened the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association’s Phil Lawler Summer Classic and became the winning pitcher in Lyons’ victory over Joliet Catholic to open pool play in the annual tournament. In the crowd for that game was a recruiter from the University of Michigan.
Less than a month later, Lehmann verbally committed to the Wolverines, according to a report Wednesday at prepbaseballreport.com. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound right-hander is perhaps the first major Chicago area recruit for new Michigan coach Erik Bakich, who took over on June 27 after coming over from Maryland. Michigan’s 2012 roster included former Chicago area players such as Adam Robinson of Glenbrook North and Erik Jacobson of St. Ignatius.
“It’s great,” Lyons coach George Ushela said. “He got a lot of offers. I’m not sure how many offers.”
Ushela led Lyons to its fourth summer league title last month, all under the veteran coach, with a 7-3 championship game win over Joliet Catholic.
Lehmann can play multiple positions, though he has developed into an ace starter with a high-80s fastball. He was a catcher and third baseman for Lyons’ Class 4A state championship team in 2011, but played third base and pitcher for the 2012 state runner-up team, which lost to Oak Park-River Forest on a walk-off RBI single.
Ushela said Lehmann would join other recent Lyons products to play in the Big Ten. Casey McMurray recently played at Illinois and was one of the Illini’s top hitters and Kyle Corcoran completed his pitching career at Michigan State in 2010.