Young Guns

Morrison, Nowik bring the heat


AJ Shaw, Staff Writer

Junior pitchers Breck Nowik and Connor Morrison both know the amount of work it takes to be a successful pitcher.

“They’re unbelievable,” said teammate and outfielder Charlie Marks. “They put a ton of work into their craft and you can tell it pays off when they’re pitching.”

Their hard work paid off last season, as they jumped from the Freshman A level in 2016-17 to the Varsity level in 2017-18. Both would combine to compile a win-loss record of 6-2 and a 2.68 earned run average (ERA) over 64.1 innings pitched.

A big reason for their success is pitching coach Bill San Hamel, who has been with the Scouts since the 2012-13 season.

“They are both very competitive players who work extremely hard when it comes to the game of baseball. It was really nice to see them on the varsity level last season getting valuable experience. They have tremendous futures,” said San Hamel.

Even with this success, the two players share one common desire and goal, and that is to win.

“Winning and remaining consistent is the key for me,” said Nowik. “If that means I go 0 for 4, but Connor goes 4 for 4 and we win the game, I will be happy regardless of my situation.”

Their experience at the varsity level last season proved major dividends toward this drive to win. The Scouts made the IHSA playoffs with a 19-14-1 record, before losing a heartbreaker to rival Warren.

Both played in the very competitive Lake Forest Baseball Association (LFBA) in their years before high school, where their desire to win began. But their love of the game started at a very young age from the influence of their fathers.

“Ever since I could remember, my dad and I were playing catch in the yard,” said Morrison. “Whenever I picked up the ball, it really fueled my love for the game.”

Nowik also credits his dad.

“He played high school baseball as a shortstop and pitcher, and from the beginning, he really was big on my baseball career.”

While Nowik began playing for LFBA at age 7, Morrison didn’t begin playing until fourth grade, when he moved from Peoria, Illinois.

“Lake Forest is much different than Peoria,” he said. “Our team wasn’t very good, so when I moved, the competition level and the success of the teams really made it fun for me. I believe it really benefited my baseball career to not only be on a winning team, but be on a team with so many talented and competitive players like Breck.”

After strong freshman seasons in 2016-17 under head coach Trent Webster, Nowik, Morrison and fellow junior Michael Vallone all successfully tried out for the Varsity level in their sophomore year.

“I am not a big stats guy,” said Nowik, “so I really didn’t focus on my batting average or other significant numbers last season. I was more concerned about winning games and learning how to adjust to the higher velocities and bigger pitchers {on varsity].”

Morrison struggled in his first game, a relief appearance during a spring break game in South Carolina.

“That game really kind of woke me up,” he said. “It was like, welcome to Varsity!”
Morrison would bounce back in his next appearance against Warren, and pitched well, throwing 2.2 scoreless innings.

Entering the 2019 season, the Lake Forest Scouts will be built off of their pitching.

“My goal is to just be more vocal and continue to work at being the best I can be,” Nowik said.