Lucas Olen’s last hurrah
No one looks happier to be in a Nashua Silver Knights uniform than Bedford’s Lucas Olen.
"I love it here, I love baseball," said Olen, who has one year of eligibility left for college but already has his undergraduate degree. "This is one of my last stints in baseball, as far as I know. It’s school depending. This could be it, I have no idea. … It’s still up in the air right now."
What isn’t up in the air is the opinion that Olen has become one of the Silver Knights best relievers, used in both a long role and setup role. At last look, he was 2-1 with a 1.86 earned run average in his second straight summer at Holman Stadium.
Those numbers, all out of the pen, earned him a spot on the East Futures Collegiate League All-Star team for Tuesday’s game at Lynn’s Fraser Field. He was a reliever at Southern New Hampshire University, which was one of several schools to recruit him.
"I just want to pitch," he said. "Whatever way I can pitch is what I’ll do. It doesn’t matter what role I play."
That’s because he loves where he’s doing it.
"This is unbelieveable," Olen said. "I love it in Nashua. Holman Stadium has been great to me. A beautiful place to play, and I love it."
It shows in his numbers, for certain.
"He’s throwing the ball well," Silver Knights pitching coach Kyle Jackson said. "I think he’s more consistent, and has a better feel for his off speed (pitches) this year than he did last year.
"We count on him every time."
It’s easy to do that, Jackson says, because Olen has shown great control.
"He’s getting ahead," he said, "and making them put the ball in play."
"My mentality is just throw the pitch," Olen said. "I’m going to give them the best I’ve got when I go out there. If it doesn’t work, that’s baseball."
Olen’s favorite pitch, however, is his change-up. It’s his go to offering. "My favorite pitch by far," he said.
Olen chose SNHU because it was so close to home. He was a member of the first four-year class at Bedford High School, and went 8-1 his senior year with the Bulldogs in 2011. In 2012 he went 2-1 out of the SNHU pen; he held opponents to a .138 batting average in 2014 and this past spring was used sparingly, not allowing a run in 5 1/3 innings.
What about 2013, you ask? He missed it after having shoulder surgery; hence the extra year of eligibility after graduation. Needless to say, he’s back to full strength.
Thus the question is, what’s next? Olen studied psychology at SNHU and wants to be a sports exercise psychologist, and will pursue a Masters Degree.
The question is, where? If it’s SNHU, or elsewhere, he still wants to pitch if possible.
"He came in and we talked about it when he first got here," Silver Knights pitching coach Kyle Jackson said. "I just said, ‘Throw well, show what you can do, and hopefully you can get more innings next year."
Olen isn’t ready to leave baseball just yet.
"I’d love to stay in the game somehow, some way," Olen said. "It’d be hard to leave it completely, because it’s been such a big part of my life."
Also representing the Silver Knights in the FCBL All-Star Game are outfielders Tyler Schwanz (Umaine) and Ryan Sullivan (Bunker Hill), infielder Manny Cruz (SNHU), and catcher Erik Ostberg. Sullivan will also compete in the Home Run Derby.