Warhawk pitcher goes professional after MLB Draft

By Adam Reed

June 10, 2016

One of last year’s starting pitchers for the UW-Whitewater baseball team has made national news by realizing his dream of playing in the major leagues.

Junior Lake Bachar was drafted 144th overall by the San Diego Padres. Bachar’s selection in the fifth round made him the first player to be drafted in all of Division III baseball for the 2016 draft.

Bachar was a two-sport athlete during his time at UW- Whitewater, winning two national championships as a kicker and punter for the Warhawk football team.

His success continued on the diamond, helping the Warhawks to a top-eight finish in this year’s national tournament, ending the season with a 2.53 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 92.2 innings pitched.

Bachar was named Midwest Region Rookie of the Year in 2015, with a 2.24 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 60.1 innings pitched, and was named first team All-Midwest Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association and second team All-Region by D3baseball.com in 2016.

As a starter, Bachar holds an overall record of 15-7 in the two years he pitched for the Warhawks, and helped the team claim a conference championship and the Central Region title in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

In addition to his time in a Warhawk uniform, Bachar was part of the Northwoods League in the summer of 2015. The Northwoods League boasts “the finest environment for the development of collegiate baseball players” in its mission statement.

Bachar was a starting pitcher for the Lakeshore Chinooks, based in Grafton, Wisconsin while playing in the Northwoods League. He started 12 games for the Chinooks, with a .247 ERA in 65.2 innings pitched and 63 strikeouts.

With his selection, Bachar becomes the 13th Warhawk to be drafted to the pros and the first Warhawk to be selected since Ben Versnik was taken by the Mariners in the 38th round in 2010.

Only two of the other 12 Warhawks were drafted higher than Bachar, with Kris Hanson being taken at 139th overall in the 1993 draft, and Bob Wickman going in the second round of the 1990 draft, at 44th overall.

As a high school graduate, Bachar was ranked No. 100 on Baseball America’s College Top 100 Draft Prospects, but came to UW-Whitewater with the intention of playing football. He decided to return to baseball during the summer of 2014, a decision which has landed him with the opportunity to take his talents to the west coast after just two years of Division III ball.

Both Bachar and UW-Whitewater head baseball coach John Vodenlich were unavailable for comment before press time.