Baseball: Nick Coutre a rock in leadoff spot for LibertyvilleLibertyville- Baseball. Libertyville vs. Carmel. Nick Coutre leads off for Libertyville. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 1, 2012 10:12PM
Libertyville center fielder Nick Coutre’s style as a leadoff hitter may differ from what some teams consider prototypical, but as far as the Wildcats are concerned, he’s the man for the job.
There’s a huge reason, after all, that the 5-foot-8, 150-pound senior — who bats left-handed but throws righty — signed a letter of intent to play NCAA Division I baseball with Villanova University next season.
On the school’s athletics website, it states that Coutre is, “an outfielder who possesses great bat speed and pop from the left side of the plate,” and that he, “will be able to play all three outfield positions.”
And while it’s unclear if Coutre will continue to bat leadoff at the college level, his aggressiveness has been a huge asset for Libertyville this season.
“He’s in the leadoff spot on our team because I want him to come up to bat as many times as possible,” said Libertyville coach Jim Schurr. “I even had a talk with him the other day — if he were truly a true leadoff guy, he would take more pitches. But he doesn’t really always approach it that way. If Nick gets his pitch to hit, Nick is gonna hit it. His success in the leadoff hole has come more from hitting the ball hard and having good pitch selection, as opposed to drawing walks, or doing things a leadoff hitter would usually do to get on base.”
During a three-game stretch from April 23-25, Coutre showed why he’s dangerous in any part of the batting order, when he posted a .538 on-base percentage. He went 3-for-8, drew four walks, scored three runs and had four RBI.
Junior right fielder Matt Vogt was also outstanding during the same span. Vogt (6-for-9) posted a .750 OBP, drove in six runs, and had three walks hitting out of the No. 5 hole.
On the mend: Senior shortstop Anthony Mack has recovered from a bout with scarlet fever, which kept him out of the lineup for several games.
Libertyville also hopes to see signs of recovery from its pitching staff. In three games last week, Libertyville (14-7 overall, 5-1 North Suburban Lake through Monday) allowed 20 runs, which was too much for Schurr’s liking, despite the fact that the Wildcats won two of those three contests.
They swept Stevenson in a huge home-and-home Lake Division series — winning the first tilt 18-8 on April 24. That was followed by an 8-4 win the following day. The Cats’ three-game winning streak was snapped on Friday, with an 8-7 loss to host Wauconda.
On deck: The Wildcats were scheduled to play their two biggest games of the season, against Lake Division-leading Mundelein (20-3, 6-0 NSC Lake), on Tuesday and again the following day.
Libertyville also visits New Trier at 4:30 p.m. May 7, followed by a Lake Division home-and-home series against Lake Forest May 8-9.