June 29, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Luke Raley, Jack Pecnik pick Lake Erie College

Enemies will soon become roommates.

Highland senior Luke Raley and Wadsworth senior Jack Pecnik signed letters of intent to play baseball at Division II Lake Erie College, which is fresh off a school-record 27 wins and its first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament appearance.

Jack Pecnik

The duo will have familiar company on the Storm, as Luke’s brother, Brad, is a junior pitcher and Medina native Rutger Luebke is a freshman catcher.

“The thing that separated Lake Erie from the other schools was Coach (Brian) McGee,” Pecnik said. “He has an amazing love and passion for the game. Coach McGee and his coaching staff have a commitment to winning. At the camp and on my visit, the team attitude and chemistry was awesome.”

Raley is slated to play first base and outfield and will receive a partial scholarship. The versatile two-year starter exploded onto the Northeast Ohio scene with a .474 average and a county-best 37 RBIs and 45 hits as the Hornets won their first Suburban League title since 1989.

Raley, who plans on majoring in special education, was first scouted by McGee during the summer of 2011, and could see major playing time right away — a key factor that separated the Storm from Bowling Green State, Arkansas-Little Rock and Walsh.

“Lake Erie will be losing 10 seniors, so if I go out, work hard and prove myself, there will be the opportunity for me to get a good amount of playing time as a freshman,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pecnik’s route to the Willoughby school was slightly different. The plucky outfielder had to prove himself to McGee, who was scouting other players on Pecnik’s summer team.

Pecnik, who batted .273 with 14 walks last spring, then flashed a strong 6.75 60-yard dash time at Lake Erie’s fall showcase to catch McGee’s interest.

Once Pecnik felt wanted, there wasn’t much else to do but sign on the dotted line.

“He has made it clear that with hard work and dedication, I will be a good fit for the Storm,” Pecnik said.

Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.