Baseball: Naperville Central’s Ian Lewandowski picks Illinois-Chicago
Committing so vitally to the Naperville Central athletic program as a three-sport athlete, recognition finally has come for Ian Lewandowski after such a long wait.
Weighing a pair of Division I opportunities, Lewandowski, a senior right-hander, verbally committed on Sunday night to the University of Illinois-Chicago.
“It was just a good opportunity for me. It’s close to home,” he said. “It’s nice that it’s close to home. Family will be able to come out and watch me play a lot more.”
In 44 innings this season, Lewandowski has posted a 4-0 record and a 0.48 ERA to go along with 44 strikeouts while allowing just 27 hits.
Starting this season by throwing 21 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, he has been unscored upon in five of his eight appearances in 2012 and has earned victories over both of the finalists in Class 4A a year ago, Lyons and Providence.
Now after some long and restless nights, Lewandowski finally has some much-needed peace of mind in knowing what he’ll be doing after graduating in May — pitching for the Flames and playing alongside former Naperville Central teammate Conor Philbin, who’s redshirting this year.
“I’m obviously going there as a pitcher and they’re giving me the opportunity to swing. They’re not saying I’ll be hitting in the games, but I can continue to swing in practice and stuff like that,” he said. “If I continue to get better at that, then you never know what could happen.”
Named to the Naperville Sun All-Area Team as a junior, he compiled an 8-3 record to go with a 1.49 ERA and fanned 49 in 61 innings in 2011 as the Redhawks went 21-13.
Lewandowski, who quarterbacked the Naperville Central football team to the brink of an appearance in the Class 8A state title game last fall and played on the basketball team in the winter, is the type of athlete the Naperville Central athletic department continually seeks out and covets.
“It really is (rare to see a three-sport athlete excelling at all three sports at a high level). We preach here, as a baseball program but also as an athletic program, the kid who throws the 3-2 curveball for a strike is the same kid who hits the free throw when it matters,” Naperville Central coach Mike Stock said. “And you know what? Throwing to a radar gun in a warehouse in February, I don’t know how much that helps you in that moment.
“This is about doing what you can do when it matters and he epitomizes that. As a whole athletic department, we want multi-sport athletes. We do. We want kids who want to compete.”