As the spring sports season gets closer, it’s time for us to look at some of the greatest baseball players that have come through the high school. In this series, we will look at baseball players that have left a lasting impact on the Lake Forest High School program. These players were exceptional talents–both while wearing Scout blue and in their careers after–and it can be seen via their statistical and intangible effect on some of LFHS’ best teams.
Alan Benes (1990):
Benes is still the only Lake Forest High School graduate to win a World Series during his professional baseball career. He was an ace in his high school years, posting a 1.21 ERA in 63 ⅔ innings pitched his senior year. He also was a very capable hitter and owns the Scouts record for runs batted in with 98 total in his high school career. He then went on to lead the Creighton Blue Jays to a College World Series appearance while also winning the Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year award. The hard-throwing righty stood at 6 foot 5 inches tall and weighed in at 215 pounds. Benes used his imposing stature to dominate opposing batters. After his college career, Benes was drafted in the first round of the 1993 MLB draft by the St. Louis Cardinals and went on to play Major League Baseball for eight years. Benes was both a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher in his years in the MLB. In his first year in the league, Benes won 13 games and came in seventh place in the Rookie of the Year voting. Overall, Benes won 29 games throughout his very successful Major League career and will forever be cemented as one of the most successful high school baseball players to ever come through the high school.
Cal Coughlin (2016):
Now a sophomore at TCU, Coughlin was not only a flamethrower for the Scouts during his high school career, but also a very capable and talented infielder with plus power at the plate. Coughlin batted .333 as a senior while also posting a 1.51 ERA, topping out at 94 mph on the radar gun. Overall, Coughlin has always been a gamer and a competitor, as was seen in his 2017 campaign with the TCU Horned Frogs. Coughlin was third on the team in bullpen appearances and led the team with a 1.59 ERA. His stellar freshman year also included 19 shutout appearances in which he struck out 22 batters. One thing that sets Coughlin apart from the bunch, however, is his ability to show up in clutch situations. Back in the 2016 regional semifinal against Palatine, the Scouts were losing 4-3 with no outs in the bottom of the seventh when Coughlin cranked a grand slam over the right field wall to hoist the Scouts into the regional final. This is a perfect example of the undeniable talent and timely performances that have made Coughlin extremely successful in his LFHS career and will likely make him very successful in his future.
Travis Myers (2003):
Just like his father, Tommy Myers, Travis was one of the more versatile players in LFHS history. Playing second base and pitcher, Travis was the ace of the 2002-2003 squad that came in third place in the IHSA State Tournament. To this day, that team is still the most successful baseball team to ever come through the high school. Myers led the team in innings pitched, wins, and earned run average. He threw 78 innings and maintained a 1.44 ERA throughout the season, catapulting him to All-State honorable mention as a pitcher. In addition to being a spectacular pitcher, Travis was also a sound second baseman with a high baseball IQ and a do-it-all attitude. A three-sport athlete who also was the quarterback of the football team and point guard of the basketball team, Travis was a leader in everything he did. Myers exemplified everything that a high school athlete should be. He was talented, coachable and always put the team first.
The clear favorite for the top spot would be Benes because of his established success in college and also in the MLB, but it also needs to be considered that Myers’ team went on to place third place in state (the highest finish in LFHS history). Every team needs different types of players and all three of the gentleman provided demonstrated different qualities to their respective teams. Benes provided undeniable talent and versatility by being able to hit and pitch, Coughlin provided a fiery attitude and a dedication to winning and performing in the clutch, and Myers demonstrated leadership and the ability to be coachable. All of these assets are necessary to be a great baseball player. The Scouts will start their season with their annual spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Come out to support the guys in their first home game Tuesday, April 3 at Varsity Field against conference rival Stevenson!