Lake Region State Baseball continues commitment to preparing players for next step

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Jonathan Lund recognizes an eager baseball player when he sees one. 

Of course, the Lake Region State baseball head coach isn’t the only one that possesses this trait. Other schools do, also. 

Nate Grafsgaard (left), Austin McClure (center) and Austyn Andrachick (right) announced their college commitments on April 20.

Three baseball players for the Lake Region State Royals – Nate Grafsgaard, Austin McClure and Austyn Andrachick – announced the next leg in their baseball journey on April 20. Grafsgaard and McClure committed to the University of Minnesota-Crookston, while Andrachick committed to Mayville State University. 

However, the commitment process is not as cut and dry as the ink on the parchment might be once it’s all said and done. After all, players must talk with coaches, take part in an interview here and there and visit the school, too, if possible. 

Andrachick did not come to the decision on his own. After all, the utility player went to several different sources to state their individual opinions on the choice to attend Mayville State. 

“For me, I was just looking to play baseball at the next level and just move on from here,” Andrachick said. “Midway through fall, Kyal [Williams], the old coach from here, gave me a text and said, hey, do you maybe want to come here? Then, I went on a visit out there, and I liked everything they had baseball-wise. They had everything I was looking for, so I said, yeah, sure, and just signed it.” 

McClure, a pitcher for the Royals, additionally felt the need to collect feedback from those around him. 

“I found it helpful to talk to both Jon [Lund] and Kyal [Williams],” McClure said. “Like the other Austyn [Andrachick], I wanted to play at the next level, but I wanted to play under certain conditions. I wasn’t just going to play just to play. I had to know that I was going to get better, and I had to meet the things…Talking to Kyal and Jon about that was really helpful because it let me know that it was available and what I needed was out there and that I could find it.” 

To Lund, the process is not one he is unfamiliar with carrying out. If anything, it is a process he yearns to have with his respective players. From his experience in playing against or playing for local colleges within the region – Minnesota-Crookston and Mayville State included – Lund has developed a knack for talking with coaches and finding out what they are looking for in a player. When coupled with his ability to listen to what his players want in a school, it is a perfect combination of insight and experience. 

Although he might influence a player’s commitment decision, Lund believes the decision for what the player should do is theirs to make and theirs to make only. 

“I am just here to answer any questions that they have,” Lund said. “I am not going to try to sway them one way or the other. I try to give my honest feedback from what the school is like, from what I know, and from what I have heard from others and even give them resources to go reach out to other people about those specific schools and stuff like that. In the end, it’s their choice. I want them to do the best fit for them and said they were going to like. So, as long as that ends up being what happens, I’m happy for them. So, that is how it goes for me.” 

Austyn Andrachick (left), Austin McClure (center) and Jonathan Lund (right) pose for a photo.

From their times in the program, both McClure and Andrachick have shown out from Lund’s perspective. From developing a gritty mindset to maintaining composure on and off the field at Lake Region State, Lund believes the pair will succeed at their next stop. 

To Lund, the Royals have provided and will continue to provide an avenue for players such as McClure or Andrachick to develop their skills and learn those intangibles in preparation for what they will need to tackle next. 

If eager players step up to the plate, then Lund will be there for them to reach their next step of the journey. 

“Like I said, you need to have that mentally good mindset [and] work ethic to go outwork [and] grind your way through that latter at the next level when you are going to be playing with a lot larger amounts of kids on that team,” Lund said. “That is the one thing that has been constant for me. I want guys to get in here and develop that work ethic and want to push themselves to be better and all that kind of stuff. That is one thing that is always going to be my main goal as a coach.” 

John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell  phone (701-230-4339), email (jcrane@gannett.com) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.