Nolan Lawrence had some good times and some bad times during his first year on Kellogg Community College’s baseball squad.
He can’t complain about the team’s results or his own individual performance.
Kellogg Community College dominated the Michigan Community college Athletic Association season, posting a 26-2 record and a 40-15 record overall. The squad cruised through the regional tournament and earned a spot in the Division 2 Junior College National Baseball Tournament.
And Lawrence played a nice role in the squad’s overall success. Lawrence batted .314 with an on-base percentage of .444 and a slugging percentage of .490. The only thing that didn’t go Lawrence’s way was his health. He suffered a pulled hamstring about halfway through the season, meaning he was only able to play in 24 of the team’s games, collecting 51 at bats overall.
“It was a good season and I grew a lot as a player,” Lawrence said. “Of course, the injury held me back on a personal level, but as a team we dominated the state and we competed at the national level, which was pretty cool.”
“I pulled (my hamstring) and was out for two weeks. I came back and played three games before I tore it in another spot. I wasn’t able to play until the last game.”
Lawrence, who played first base, started the season a little slow, going 2-for-10 during the team’s first southern trip. However, four of those games were against the top ranked team in the state, so it wasn’t like anyone on the squad was hitting the ball at a blistering pace at that time.
Once March came, Lawrence started hitting the ball well. He batted .400 during the month, collecting two doubles and a triple among his 10 hits. He also walked five times while striking out just once in his 30 plate appearances. Lawrence was part of the starting lineup when he went out with the hamstring pull in early April.
“I think you learn how much more focused you have to be to compete at the next level because the talent is so much higher than the talent we saw at the high school level,” Lawrence said. “It’s such a bigger commitment level than high school athletics because it really becomes a job, and you have to have the passion to compete at a high level at the college level.”
Lawrence is preparing for his sophomore season, and hoping he can parlay his career into a Division 1 athletic career when he completes his time at Kellogg Community College. Many players from the program have gone on to play at a variety of different four-year college programs after competing for the Bruins.
“That’s the goal, to compete at the D1 level,” Lawrence said. “That’s why I chose to go the JV path. I’ll start contacting teams this summer.”