38 | June 13, 2019 | the lockport legend sports lockportlegend.com LTHS grad re-writes record books at North Central Quade sets one single-season, five career program records Max Lapthorne, Editor The most memorable hit of Jeremy Quade’s baseball career probably should not have been a hit at all. In his penultimate game at North Central College on May 19, the Lockport native dug into the batter’s box in the top of the seventh inning having compiled 245 hits during his collegiate career, tied for the most in program history. He got a changeup in the zone — a pitch Quade had done plenty of damage with in his career — but the pitch had its desired effect with Quade starting his swing a fraction of a second too early and popping the ball high into left field. But what should have been an easy putout turned into a record-breaking hit as Quade’s big swing and some swirling winds teamed up to trick the Webster University outfielders, and the ball fell to the turf in left-center field for his 246th hit as a Cardinal. “I was a little angry at first because of the way it happened, but I [remembered] how many times I hit a ball hard right at somebody and it was caught, so I was able to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment, realize what just happened and how special it is,” Quade said. Although the historic hit was not a majestic home Lockport Township graduate Jeremy Quade (left) is the all-time career leader in hits, stolen bases, at-bats, games played and runs scored at North Central College. Steve Woltmann/North Central College run or frozen rope, it was perhaps more apropos, because despite flinging his bat in frustration after initially making contact, Quade — as he always did — hustled down the line and ended up with a double on the play. North Central coach Ed Mathey’s first reaction when the record-setting blooper fell to the grass was to crack a smile, because he knew it was probably not how his senior center fielder imagined that moment playing out. “In his mind, it’s probably not the glorious home run or the line drive into right-center field, but it’s one he’s always going to remember [and] so will I,” Mathey said. “... For the most part, Jeremy approached the game to play hard each and every day. That’s not an easy thing to do at any level.” Quade’s collegiate career came to a close later that day in the Whitewater Regional Championship, but he will not be soon forgotten around the North Central baseball complex as he left as the career leader in runs, games played, stolen bases and at-bats while also breaking the single-season record for at-bats. In addition to his individual exploits, Quade helped the Cardinals to four consecutive Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin titles, was part of four NCAA regional qualifying teams and led his team to a third-place finish at the Division III College World Series his sophomore year. “It’s a Division III school, but our athletic program is outstanding,” Quade said of North Central. “The opportunities at Lockport that I was able to take advantage of, whether that be classroom stuff, weight room stuff, leadership stuff, just kind of the whole package that Lockport offered me, and the people that were there prepared me to take advantage of the opportunities at North Central.” One of the opportunities Quade had at LTHS most pivotal to his success at North Central was playing quarterback for the Porters football team. His time on the gridiron helped finetune his leadership skills, and the overall mentality he had during football games translated to the diamond as well. “With baseball, they say you only play or are focused for like 22 minutes out of three hours,” Quade said. “For those 22 minutes, you have to have a football mentality. Hustle out of the box, fighting for the extra 90 feet. Just like in football, you’re always fighting for that extra yard.” When recruiting Quade, Mathey was enticed by Quade’s work on the football field, but not only because it showcased his leadership and focus. “It shows a lot of different things from a leadership standpoint, from an attention-to-detail standpoint and [about] his decision-making ability,” Mathey said. “That’s part of the game of baseball that I don’t think gets looked at enough, is the ability to make good decisions when you’re on the field.” One of the moments that stands out most to Mathey when it comes to Quade is an at-bat that he did not even take. Late this past season — as Quade was in pursuit of the all-time hits record — Mathey and his coaching staff were hoping to get an at-bat for one of Quade’s teammates who had battled several shoulder injuries throughout his career and worked to rehab the injury despite the odds being against him being able to play again. The game was well in hand in the eighth inning, and the coaching staff was planning to give him the at-bat in the designated hitter spot, but given where the Cardinals were in the order, there was no guarantee that spot would come up before the game ended. Quade overheard this conversation between Mathey and his coaching staff as he headed to the on-deck circle and immediately offered to give up his at-bat. “Here is a guy who has been in the lineup a lot, and I know he’s aware of the hit record and everything else and he’s willing to do that for a teammate,” Mathey said. Quade recently finished up his degree in sports management and communication and accepted a business education teaching position at a high school in Indiana where his first base coach at North Central College was recently named athletic director. Quade plans to coach baseball and football and may do some strength and conditioning work as well. “I’m really excited about this opportunity that I have with that teaching position and the coaching,” he said. “I never thought about teaching until this year, but I think it’s a good fit for me and I think it still allows me to work toward my career goals.” Quade credits his family and those involved in the baseball programs at LTHS and North Central for getting him to where he is today. Going forward, he plans to continue playing baseball with a semi-pro collegiate summer league team called the Lombard Orioles, and would be open to playing professionally, but if that opportunity does not come, he is satisfied with how his baseball career has played out — especially now that he has two more hits than anyone else to ever put on a Cardinals uniform. “As I started to realize I was getting close, it was one thing that I personally was wanting to achieve that kind of put the icing on the cake for my senior year having it be a good year overall, that was the last record I was really chasing,” Quade said.
lockportlegend.com sports the lockport legend | June 13, 2019 | 39 fastbreak 22nd Century Media File Photo 1st and 3 Porters triplets all athletes in high school, move on to same college 1. Going forward together Aaron, Maddy and Payton Grcevic, triplets who recently graduated from LTHS, will all be heading to Indiana University for college to study in the business school there. 2. Different sports Aaron and Payton both played basketball, and Payton also played softball. Maddy made it to state in tennis this past autumn. 3. Staying active Payton plans to participate in intramural softball at Indiana, while Aaron plans to do intramural basketball there. Maddy said she might pick up tennis again, calling it a lifelong sport. Grcevic triplets all to head to Indiana University Trio reflects on four years of being student-athletes for Porters Randy Whalen Freelance Reporter .The new Godzilla movie might have Ghidorah, the three-headed monster, but for the past four years, Lockport Township athletics had Grcevic, the threeheaded athlete All three of the Grcevic triplets, Aaron, Maddy, and Payton, will be attending college together at Indiana University. Not only will all three be going there together, but they all will also be in the business school at the university, even if it was not planned that way. “When we started looking at colleges last summer, I knew that Indiana University was my top choice,” Maddy said. “So, I decided to go there first.” Aaron was next. “My top choice was the University of Wisconsin,” he said. “But I didn’t get direct admission to there. So last December, I decided to go to Indiana. It just worked out.” It also worked out for Payton. “It was between Indiana and the University of Dayton in Ohio,” Payton said. “But Indiana had a better business school, so I decided this past February to go there. I would never Triplets and recent LTHS graduates (left to right) Payton, Aaron and Maddy Grcevic were all studentathletes in high school, and they will all attend Indiana University to study in the business school there. photo submitted have thought that we’d all go to the same school. It just happened.” While they will all attend Indiana together, they all had their own identity in athletics at Lockport. Aaron and Payton both played basketball, but Payton also played softball. Maddy made it to state in tennis this past fall. Being the only two-sport varsity athlete at Lockport and a starter in both basketball, at guard, and softball, at second base, which sport did Payton like better? “I could never decide that,” she said. “It just depended on the season. But at Indiana, I might do intramural softball, but not basketball. I think I’m done with basketball, so I guess it’s softball.” Aaron plans to do intramural basketball in college. “Oh, yeah, I will probably play intramurals at Indiana,” he said. “I want to stay active.” Being a tennis player, Maddy can stay active most any time. “Maybe I will be picking it up again,” she said. “The good thing about tennis is you can play it your whole life.” Maddy does have a bit of bragging rights over her siblings. She is the only one who went to the state finals. That happened last fall, when she and her doubles partner, sophomore Kamila Kalinowska, advanced to state as the Porters’ second doubles team. There, they won a match. “That was my goal for the past four years,” Maddy said of advancing to state. “I worked really hard for that, and I’m glad I got the experience.” Naturally, there is some sibling rivalry between the trio. “I’ve been telling Payton to practice against me for years,” Aaron said of the fact they were the only ones to both play the same sport of basketball. “But she never wanted to play me one-on-one.” Payton did not want to go that route. “We would just shoot around together,” she said. The competition got lessened as the years went on. “When we all played the same sports, there was more competition,” Maddy said of the trio in junior high at Oak Prairie Junior High. We all played basketball and volleyball there.” But the three all support each other and attended each other’s games whenever they could. They also all credit their parents, Allycn and Brad, for their support. Their parents met at Lockport Township, where they were both part of the Class of 1988 and both played sports at the school. Allycn was a cheerleader, while Brad was a varsity baseball player. “We all supported each other, and so did our parents,” Maddy said. Plus, their parents are remembered at Lockport. “Some of the coaches at Lockport, like [Ken] Dobson and [Ron] Kulwinski tell stories about my dad,” Aaron said. “My dad was a big influence on me and continues to help me get better and continue my work ethic.” Payton agreed. “They helped us in everything in life,” she said. “Not just in athletics, but in academics, as well.” The three were all born a minute apart on Oct. 20, 2000. Aaron was first, followed by Maddy and Payton. They have no other Please see Grcevic, 35 LISTEN UP “They remind you how much positive there is in the world. Hard workers, polite, care about the people around them, great students, always fun to be around.” Brett Hespell — LTHS boys basketball coach, on the Grcevic triplets Tune In Sports Injury Prevention Camp Avoiding getting hurt — 8 a.m. to noon Friday, June 14, and Friday, June 21, at LTHS. • Loyola Medicine is slated to conduct a two-day Sports Injury Prevention Camp geared toward athletes ages 10-14. Index 36 - Team 22 Boys Volleyball 35 - Athlete of the Week FASTBREAK is compiled by Contributing Editor Thomas Czaja, tom@homerhori zon.com.