Home News Drew Kosteba, Lake Central leap over Chesterton

Drew Kosteba, Lake Central leap over Chesterton


Next time Lake Central junior outfielder Drew Kosteba visits YouTube, he may be the one on the highlight reel.

With a catcher between him and semistate, Kosteba went airborne.

“I saw the catcher there in a crouch,” he said. “I was like, ‘I saw it in a YouTube video one time, when a guy just dove over the catcher, and that’d be sick.’ So I just dove. At that point, I had no other thought in my mind but scoring.”

That’s how Kosteba scored the second run during Lake Central’s 2-0 win over Chesterton in a Class 4A regional final at the Steel Yard in Gary on Monday, although he might not have been in that position without his tireless offseason routine.

Kosteba’s fifth-inning run added crucial insurance for Lake Central (22-9), which will play Westfield (21-10) in the semifinals of a semistate on Saturday after beating the Duneland Athletic Conference rival Trojans (22-7).

The game was mostly a pitchers’ duel. Chesterton sophomore Troy Barrett held the Indians to just two runs in his five innings of work, and Lake Central senior Griffin Tobias — an Indiana commit — struck out 11 in a complete game.

Tobias described his performance as “effectively wild.”

“I didn’t really have my best stuff,” he said. “But I did the job.”

Kosteba had two of Lake Central’s 11 hits, reaching in the fifth with a towering double to left before he soared over Chesterton freshman catcher Caden Hackett on Lake Central junior third baseman Ryder Fernandez’s single.

Kosteba’s dive wasn’t perfect. He landed awkwardly on his left shoulder and didn’t go back on the field for the seventh inning. He spoke with a bag of ice on that shoulder but expressed optimism that he’d be ready for Saturday.

“Our athletic trainer said that if I’m able to move it, then he didn’t think it was serious,” Kosteba said while rotating his left arm. “And that he’d put in every dollar we have so that I’m good for Saturday.”

It’s a season Kosteba doesn’t want to end. He’s hitting .333 with 11 RBIs, four doubles, two triples and a home run, a substantial improvement on his .167 average in 36 at-bats last year.

“That was a rough season,” he said. “I was in my head all of last year. But I knew I had to be a big part of this season, so I told myself that I needed to clear my head and do the best I possibly can.”

That was one part of Kosteba’s offseason program. The other part was a seemingly endless amount of time spent in batting cages.

“I can’t even tell you how many hours I put in to make this the best season that I could,” he said. “So far, it’s working out pretty well.”

Lake Central coach Mike Swartzentruber called Kosteba the team’s “hottest hitter” and was just as complimentary about Kosteba’s fundamentals on a first-inning infield single.

“We faced a tough lefty, and he put the bat on the ball, but he also got a big bunt down,” Swartzentruber said. “We’ve worked with him for nine months on that because you never know when you’re going to need it.”

Kosteba’s 2-for-3 outing is the latest evidence that the struggles of his sophomore season are behind him.

“I’m proud that I was able to bounce back and figure it all out after having that type of year,” he said.

Kosteba felt a similar pride in his team after the Indians punched a return ticket to semistate despite having to replace several key contributors from last season.

“I heard so many things from so many people, that our team wasn’t going to do anything this year or make any sort of run,” he said. “But that motivation was the biggest fuel.”

Dave Melton is a freelance reporter. 

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