Kevin Zak three-peats as GLIAC North POW
The routine never changes for Kevin Zak. Every at-bat begins with a tap of the plate and a helmet adjustment, in that order.
The adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" couldn't apply more for the Grand Valley State second baseman.
Zak has been dynamite offensively through 17 games of the 2015 campaign. As per the theme throughout his career, consistency has been key for the redshirt senior from Novi, Mich.
The No. 3 hitter is proving to be more than a catalyst for the 10-7 Lakers. Zak's hitting .463, and leads the GLIAC in home runs (five), total bases (52) and slugging percentage (.762) as of Tuesday. Additionally, his 31 hits and 21 RBIs rank as the second-most in the conference.
“He keeps his approach simple at the plate," said outfielder and lineup protection Jamie Potts. "He looks to hit fastballs and not complicate things. He is always in good counts and goes up there with the right mindset for him, which helps him be consistent.
“His hot start helps the team get going and makes it a lot easier for his confidence, and on us as a team. He is a senior and a leader for us; it's good for the younger kids to watch and learn from him and how he’s handling the success at the plate.”
In the series at Ohio Dominican on Saturday, Zak belted three home runs in the same doubleheader. The last GVSU player to do that was Laker home run king Giancarlo Brugnoni (2013).
On Monday, Zak was tabbed as the GLIAC North Player of the Week -- for the third straight week -- after racking up five homers, a double, five runs and a .478 batting average in five games last week. He also drew a pair of walks and was hit by two pitches in that span.
Described as quiet and humble by teammates, Zak doesn't get caught up in the spotlight.
His focus is elsewhere.
“It’s a really cool honor to get, but the main goal is to make it to the World Series," he said. "Then those kinds of accolades come with it."
"I just stick to my approach at the plate -- looking for a good pitch that I can drive the other way, waiting for my pitch, being patient -- and if I get the pitch that I want early in the count, I attack it.”
The hot start should come as no surprise, considering Zak has been a vital contributor to the offense since redshirting as a freshman in 2011. With 184 starts in 184 possible games, he is a three-time All-GLIAC First Team honoree and a three-time All-GLIAC Tournament Team pick.
“He is a really good player, one of our captains and team leaders, he works really hard in the offseason and it’s good to see all of that hard work paying off for him," said coach Jamie Detillion. “He gets what he deserves, he is very talented and hard working."
"When you put it together you get equal results every day. He comes to practice with the intent of getting better and its showing up in games.”
If Zak continues to tap the plate, fix his helmet and rip the cover off the ball as consistently as he has, he'll have plenty of accolades waiting for him when his senior season comes to a close.