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Grant catcher Simeon Lucas is committed to Illinois State. | Sun-Times Media Library
Jonathan Toews has already earned the moniker ‘Captain Serious’ but that description would perfectly describe Grant catcher Simeon Lucas.
The senior back-stop doesn’t really goof around too much as he likes to maintain an intense focus on the task at hand. Those qualities have led him to become a captain for Grant over the past two seasons.
“Sim is serious about baseball,’’ Grant coach David Behm said. “You can see that everyday about him at practice and games. He is all business. He takes it very seriously.”
His father Larry, who has coached Simeon for the past seven years in summer ball, saw this trait at a very young age.
“He tended to be a little more serious than other kids,’’ Larry said. “Even as a three-year-old, he showed that. He has his fun times and stuff, but not as much as normal high school kids. He takes competition very seriously.’’
Simeon has been nominated for Gatorade Player of the Year and has excelled thus far for Grant. Through 17 games, Lucas is hitting .500 average with five home runs, 20 RBI and 14 walks. It’s his improvement as a catcher that has drawn the attention of the scouts. He has led the Bulldogs off to a 14-3 start this season.
“I was at a tournament in North Carolina,’’ Lucas said. “My coach told me I had to choose between being a pitcher or a catcher. I wanted to hit every day and be in the game, so I choose catcher.’’
He made that decision in the summer between his freshman and sophomore year and has worked hard to improve his technique. He previously had played shortstop and pitched, but as he grew into his current 6-2, 210 pound frame, it became evident that he could no longer be a shortstop.
“He just got really comfortable back there,’’ Behm said. “He not only improved himself but it improved the way he leads the team as far as moving guys around on the field and calling pitches…I think that’s where he has improved the most over the last three years.’’
Lucas is committed to Illinois State and has been part of a flock of talent at Grant in recent years. Jake Ring is a freshman at Missouri and current outfielder Ryan Noda is committed to Cincinnati.
“With Jake, Simeon and Ryan Noda, we had three Division I players playing together and it’s been pretty special,’’ Behm said. “Simeon has turned himself into a leader. That serious nature he has has rubbed off on some of his teammates. He has done a nice job of setting the tone in practices and games.’’
Lucas has balanced out his life by practicing his faith. He has participated with his church groups in mission trips to the Dominican Republic that has helped mold his personality.
“He has an incredible amount of poise about him,’’ Larry said. “He’s going to provide you with a lot of confidence – not arrogance, not cockiness. That tends to rub off on his teammates.’’