Everday Champion Lonnie Lechelt
Lonnie Lechelt, a senior infielder on the Oregon State baseball team talks about his athletics and his role as a leader. Lechelt, from Kennewick, Wash., has been a mainstay in the Oregon State infield this season, playing both second base and third base. He has three home runs this season, four doubles, four triples and 26 runs batted in.
OSU’s Brittany Ornelas had a chance to sit down with Lechelt recently as he is this week’s Everyday Champion.
Q: What do you plan on doing with your major in business post graduation?
A: Hopefully, after the season if I continue to play baseball I would like to do that, but after baseball is all said and done I would like to get into management or a CEO position with some company. Eventually I would like to start my own business so I can be my own boss.
Q: Why did you switch from number 15 to 11?
A: I have never really liked 15 all that much. When I came here as a freshman, I got last pick because all the other guys had the other numbers. I was 11 in high school, so after Mitch left it became available, so I wanted to have that back.
Q: What is your most enjoyable experience being on the OSU baseball team?
A: The camaraderie, definitely. The last four years have been the best times of my life, whether it’s being in the locker room or hanging out with the guys. You have that special bond with each one of your teammates and roommates that you don’t get with other people.
Q: Looking back on your baseball career, what game stood out to you the most?
A: Obviously the second National Champion game. Winning it the first time was special, but the second one was a little more special for me personally because I was playing in it.
Q: Growing up, did you know you wanted to play collegiate baseball?
A: Yes, definitely. Growing up when playing in little league tournaments, and in high school, I would watch the college world series. When I would watch it then, I would think how good the guys were and thought that you would have to be really good to get where they are. Once I got here, it was crazy to play with the things you see on TV.
Q: How do you like to spend your free time?
A: Mostly hang out with friends. Jorge is one of my best friends on the baseball team, so we hang out a lot. I also spend a lot of time with my girlfriend, Stephanie.
Q: What was the difference between the two back to back titles?
A: Regular season wise for the first one was a lot easier to get into. The second one we barely got into. We just fought for our lives at the end and once playoffs came in the second World Series, it almost seemed easier because we only were behind in one inning in the whole series. We beat everybody about five or more runs, besides Cal State Fullerton. We were on a roll for the second one.
Q: What goals do you set for yourself before the season and before each game?
A: The first goal is to make the playoffs and get back to Omaha. That is a team goal and a personal goal. This season coming back for my senior year, my personal goal was to hit over .300. I wanted to be a leader and a contributor. Someone who could help us get back to Omaha.
Q: Who is your biggest influence on the OSU baseball team?
A: My biggest influence would be Coach Lees. He works with us the most and has taught me a lot since I’ve been here. He has helped me defensively with the transition to second base this year. I haven’t played a whole lot of second base, so he has specifically helped out in that aspect of the game.
Q: Individually, what has been your toughest challenge?
A: My toughest challenge would be sticking with it. I have been here four years and I didn’t as much the first couple years. I think that is always a challenge when you are not playing. You get kind of frustrated, but you have to see your goal and keep working hard. It has worked out and now I have a lot of playing time this season.
Q: Being a senior on the team, what leadership responsibilities do you have?
A: I have to groom the younger position players. Teaching them what work ethic is and showing them the ropes and what it takes to get to Omaha.
Q: If you could replay a game or series, which one would it be and why?
A: This last weekend vs. USC and Long Beach. There are a lot of them, but this last one hurt us a little bit. If we would have went down there to take care of business like we were capable of, we would be a better position for playoffs this year. We just need to take of business this weekend and hopefully we will be in.