Times Sports Editor
The Northview baseball program recently added its second 2011 high school graduate to the collegiate ranks as Seth Lunsford signed with Lincoln Trail College for next season. He joins Zac Niehaus, who signed a letter-of-intent with Olney Central College for the fall semester.
Both players are currently starring for American Legion Post 346 out of Terre Haute along with Northview teammate Kodie Girton and current OCC Blue Knight, Caleb Mason.
Lunsford becomes the first Knight to join Lincoln Trail's program since 1999 when David Rooksberry joined the Statesmen, along with Brian Anderson.
Lunsford, a catcher by trade at Northview and with Post 346, joins a Lincoln Trail program coached by Kevin Bowers, who will be in his second year of head coaching with the Statesmen after serving as the pitching coach for the previous four seasons. Over that period, the Statesmen never had an ERA over 3.65 and his final staff had a conference ERA of just 2.69. He's coached two Conference Pitchers of the Year and has placed three of his pitchers on the National Junior College All-Region Team.
Lunsford admitted that Bowers' experience working with pitchers was a selling point.
"(I committed to Lincoln Trail because of) the coach and the way he ran the program. He's a great guy and really knows what he's doing," Lunsford said. "He knows exactly what I need to do to get better.
"It'll help a lot because if you know how to work with pitchers then you know how to work with catchers," Lunsford continued. "He'll know exactly what I need to do and the same with the pitchers, so we'll have a good connection."
Lincoln Trail, located in Robinson, Ill., had several players from the Wabash Valley on the roster last season, but Lunsford was drawn to LTC by Bowers and the chance to play early, rather than a roster with familiar faces.
The Statesmen had an uncharacteristically down season in 2011, posting a 10-32 overall mark and a 9-19 record in Great Rivers Athletic Conference play. However, Bowers undoubtedly is bringing in Lunsford to help bring the program back its previous lofty standards, recording a 2010 record of 34-15 and 19-5 in GRAC play.
Bowers sees Lunsford as a versatile player, who could see action at multiple positions for LTC.
"He told me that I'll probably be playing third base, second base, right field or catching," Lunsford said. (Bowers) said he wants to get me in the lineup," Lunsford added.
Lunsford really come into his own this season as he built on a solid junior year by starring for the Knights at the plate and behind it during his senior year. However, Lunsford wasn't satisfied with a .324 average last year and credits playing with the American Legion team for bolstering his play.
"I kind of struggled with my hitting and catching my junior year and then I played with these guys all summer and everything just went so smooth."
Lunsford responded by rocking opposing hitting to the tune of a .467 average with 35 hits in 75 at-bats, striking out just three times all season.
Lunsford is anticipating the opportunity to compete in unfamiliar locales next season.
I'm looking forward to traveling and playing new teams all over the place. I'm just looking forward to playing," Lunsford said.