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LARRY CRISLER'S GOAL IS TO HELP THE TEAM — HE'S REACHED IT AND MORE

Saturday, June 1, 2013 • POSTED BY:  Hillary Smith - Times Columnist

HAMMOND | Larry Crisler is having one of the best statistical seasons that Bishop Noll baseball coach Paul Wirtz has seen.

He's hitting .488, has stolen 33 bases and 14 doubles. He has 48 runs from the leadoff position and has driven in 24 more.

Ask him about it, and his answer is simple.

"The team is first," the junior said. "I do whatever to help the team."

Crisler started this season with a different focus, one that took the emphasis off of himself. Not that this was a kid who had previously been shouting his name from rooftops, rafters or even the back of the baseball diamond.

Instead, with his focus squarely on the team, his production took off.

"He's turned the corner in a lot of ways," Wirtz said. "There's a new maturity with him. It's not that there's never been a time he hasn't worked hard, but he's working harder, and you add that to the skill and he's having a fantastic season."

He has already started receiving letters from schools across the country for both his basketball and baseball acumen. They sit in a pile, unread.

"I'll probably open them all this summer, see who has sent what," Crisler said.

Instead, Crisler wants to keep his eye on a prize for his team: a state title. Colleges will get in the way. Letters will get in the way.

Caring about numbers will also get in the way.

Being in a position to score is all that matters.

"Since I've been in the leadoff spot it has helped the team," Crisler said. "So I'm pretty happy with it."

"To be honest, I think every game we've gotten him on base to lead off the game, we've scored," Wirtz said. "If you get that first run in, our chances to win increase so greatly that it's turned out to be the perfect spot for him."

The Warriors (25-3) take on Boone Grove (20-7) at approximately 12:30 p.m. today in the second game of the Whiting Regional.

"It's not about one individual," Crisler said. "It's about the goal to make it to state."

Crisler's not done. He's the offensive power that pairs nicely with the pitching prowess of Danny Pobereyko. While this is Pobereyko's last season, Crisler is playing like it's his, too, wanting to make sure the seniors have all the hardware they can carry.

"Offensively, he can do everything right now, he bunts and hits to power to all fields," Wirtz said. "He's probably having overall the best statistically offensive season that I've coached. In the past 10 years at Noll, he's having the best season."