Collin Lollar knows it won’t be quite so easy in the Big Ten.
During his senior baseball season at Columbus North, Lollar plowed through opposing hitters, striking out 70 in 41 1/3 innings on the mound. That translates to an average of more than 15 strikeouts over a nine-inning game.
The odds of that figure carrying over to next spring, when Lollar will be pitching for Ohio State, is highly unlikely. In collegiate baseball, especially in the major conferences, every hitter was a star in high school. There will be no more easy outs.
“It will definitely be a challenge to stay focused every inning and every guy in the lineup,” Lollar said, “but I know in college, they do scouting reports and everything like that, so you go into the game a lot more prepared than I would in high school.”
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There wasn’t as much of a premium on preparation in high school, where Lollar could whip the ball past most batters with ease. Between his prowess on the bump and his growth into one of North’s best hitters at the plate, Lollar was a fairly easy pick for The Republic’s Player of the Year.
Being able to evolve into a strong hitter was particularly satisfying for Lollar, who batted .422 with four home runs and tied for the Bull Dogs’ team lead with 27 runs batted in.
“It’s nice helping out the team like that,” he said, “and it’s especially nice when I’m on the mound and I can help myself out and get a lead for myself.”
Lollar won’t be counted on to bat for the Buckeyes, at least not right away — and that’s fine with him. He knows that adjusting to Division I hitters will be enough of a challenge during his rookie season.
There is one potential matchup in particular that Lollar is looking forward to over the next four years — his classmate at North, Brice McDaniel, is headed to conference rival Purdue.
“That’ll be a really neat moment if I’m on the mound and throwing against him,” Lollar said. “That’ll be really fun.”
Canaan Baum, senior OF, Columbus North
Baum overcame a midseason injury to earn All-Conference Indiana honors, batting .333 with 22 runs scored and 15 RBIs.
Charlie Burton, sophomore C, Columbus East
In addition to providing strong defense behind the plate, Burton batted .338 with two home runs and 18 RBIs for the Olympians.
Jon Crawford, junior P, Columbus East
Crawford excelled at the plate and on the mound, batting .377 with 24 runs and 22 RBIs while posting an 8-0 record as a pitcher. He was chosen to the All-Hoosier Hills Conference first team.
Drew Hasson, sophomore P, Columbus East
Another All-HHC pick, Hasson emerged as the Olympians’ ace, posting a 2.17 earned-run average while striking out 52 against 18 walks in 42 innings. He also batted .450 in limited action at the plate.
Collin Lollar, senior P/OF, Columbus North
The Ohio State signee and All-Conference Indiana pick was a dominating hurler throughout his career but also developed into one of the Bull Dogs’ top hitters, tying for the team lead in runs batted in with 27.
Brice McDaniel, senior 1B, Columbus North
Named North’s defensive MVP, the Purdue recruit batted .329 with two home runs, scoring 22 runs and driving in 22 more. He was an All-Conference Indiana selection.
Jared Schoen, senior P, Hauser
An All-Mid-Hoosier Conference selection, Schoen posted a 1.59 ERA, striking out 80 in 66 innings. He also batted .288 with 15 RBIs, drawing 22 walks.
Cooper Trinkle, junior SS, Columbus North
Already committed to Evansville, Trinkle batted .416 and paced the Bull Dogs’ offense with six homers, 32 runs scored, 6 homers, 27 RBIs and an on-base plus slugging of 1.306.
Takahiro Yamada, senior 2B, Columbus East
The future Butler Bulldog batted .449 with 20 runs, 18 RBIs, 14 doubles and a 1.201 OPS, earning a spot on the All-HHC first team.
Columbus East: Nick Andrie, Harry Crider, Luke Hostetler, Kyle Weiss; Columbus North: Tyler Finke, Wade Rankin, Nolan Wetherald; Hauser: Cameron Hartog, Sam Meek, Will Rose; Jennings County: Tyler Vogel.
Statistics of note for Collin Lollar:
Batting average by season
(on-base percentage plus slugging percentage)
Home runs: 4 in 2016
Runs batted in: 27 (tied for team lead) in 2016, 79 for career
Runs scored: 21 in 2016, 69 in career
Pitching (2016 statistics)
Innings pitched: 41 1/3
Earned-run average: 2.54