The second player from Windsor/Stew-Stras' baseball team committed to play in college on Tuesday, as Hayden Cole signed with Lake Land College.
Lake Land head coach Bill Jackson said he's excited to have Cole on board, especially because he's an advanced offensive player for a high school senior.
Jackson said Cole's offensive skill will help him make a smooth transition to the college level. His approach at the plate is better than other players at his level.
“He stays inside the baseball better than a lot of high school seniors,” Jackson said. “We see a lot of hitters, who are very pull-happy and get outside the ball a lot.”
In college, Jackson said a hitter needs to be willing to use all of the field. He said Cole has the ability to spread the ball around.
“He's a little bit stronger than a lot of high school seniors,” Jackson said. “I think he has the ability to use the whole field.”
Cole signed his letter of intent at a ceremony on Tuesday in Windsor and said he's excited to get the ball rolling, beginning with his last high school season.
Cole said he made initial contact with the coaches at Lake Land, asking them to come see him play. He said seeing the campus and talking to the coaches sold him on the program.
“They are close, just right up the road,” Cole said. “I just want to make sure I can play the way I have in high school. I think I can play well, play hard and help the team win games.”
Windsor/Stew-Stras head coach Mike Taylor said Cole's work ethic will help him succeed at the next level, like teammate Alex Allen, who was the first on the team to commit – signing with Kaskaskia College.
“He's another kid that's going to work hard,” Taylor said. “He's got a real strong arm and can hit the ball a mile. He can provide them some pop in their lineup.”
Besides his work ethic, Cole has a sibling to show him how to be successful in college. His sister, Hannah, plays softball at Eastern Illinois.
Jackson said Hannah's influence will be a big addition to Cole's committed work ethic.
“He sees the work ethic he needs to have at the college level and to continue to move on at the college level,” Jackson said. “I think he's seen what it takes to be successful.”
Jackson projects Cole as a corner infielder for the Lakers.
Cole said he's going to have to get used to wearing different colors. He'll play with a red and black cap for Lake Land next year.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or firstname.lastname@example.org.