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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 7A
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 7A
The evolution of a leader
By DAILY BASEBALL BEAT well," Bakich said.
By MINH DOAN
Daily Sports Writer
The referee had just blown
the final whistle at Penn State
in the Michigan men's lacrosse
team's season opener, and
Thomas Paras looked around at
his teammates. Many of them
wore grim looks on their faces
after the eighth-ranked Nittany
Lions completely dominated
them, 22-7. Right then, the
fifth-year senior midfielder, as.
a captain, knew exactly what he
had to do. He called a players-
The Wolverines had come
into the season brimming with
confidence. Not only did the
first recruiting class have a
year under its belt, but the team
also felt it now had the talent
to compete, something it didn't
have the past two years.
"We had a lot of confidence
going into the Penn State game,"
Paras said. "But some days you
just don't have it, and that day we
didn't have our best game. I told
them that we had to minimize
the bad days we have because
we knew we didn't put our best
effort. But I also told them not
to be defeated and assured the
guys this season was not going
to go like the past two years."
But Paras has not always been
the outspoken leader he is today.
He used to be quite the opposite
earlier in his life. As he grew as
a leader, so did his influence on
Fifth-year senior Thomas Paras has improved as a vocal leader as captain of the Michigan men's lacrosse team.
few weeks of the seas
Paras would continu
sports, but focus me
lacrosse. St. Ignatius w
of the better teams in n
Ohio, cracking the top
senior year, and he had t
on lacrosse to make st
would end up
both his gu.
hockey and 1
lacrosse teams lea
year, which the
is when he b
first found out
taking on a
going to the East Coast, but he
visited (Michigan) and fell in
love," said Paras' mom, Ann
Paras. "He loved the whole
And with a decorated and
the ship. He was excited, but
he didn't realize how big of an
adjustment it would be.
a complete, Parasp
for Ann Arbor.
Growing up, sports were role as a vocal
always a big part of Paras' life. leader, choosin
His father was a huge baseball stay quiet and
fan and co-owned a baseball play lead the te
facility. Naturally, Paras started successful - Pa
out playing baseball, and later career lacrosse
took up an interest in hockey, in school history
and he excelled at both. "He's a quiet
But in sixth grade, Paras by example," Pe
attended a lacrosse camp at his "He's not a loud,
future high school, St. Ignatius Not only did
in Cincinnati, instantly falling high school
in love with the game and record-breaking
immediately quit baseball. he also earned
"I remember he came up to me All-American
in sixth grade and said, 'I don't senior year.
want to play baseball anymore. And when it
Will you be mad at me? Because a college decisi'
I really want to play lacrosse,' " choice to make.
said his father, Peter Paras. He had
But even after dropping Providence,
baseball from his regimen, it Harvard, and
wasn't until his freshman year, committed to I
when he made St. Ignatius' that was befor
varsity lacrosse team, that he Ann Arbor.
knew lacrosse was the sport he The minute
wanted to focus on. Michigan, he fel
Even after choosing to focus He loved not o
on lacrosse, Paras didn't give up but also the clul
on hockey, which affected his which he met
time on the field. Yealy, a family
He missed lacrosse training on the team.
in the offseason and the first "We always t
'e he c
1 in love
ys) had to be
y learned to
ead to the lacrosse fie'
on-field classroom, too.
i it was "When you
red 210 transition to coll
he most in high school m
still think you ca
leader studying the nij
as said. exam and everyt
g kid." come easy," Para
end his As for lacros
with a behind a strong
'tal, but that made up th
acrosse Wolverines' club
his But during t
Spring Break gao
ime for Paras was given
s had a that he would ne'
The team wa
from of a 46-gamev
and that spannedt
even But for this ga
ce. But coach John Paul
ame to a few players be
me to several
with it. attackmen.
e team, started the
Trevor game on the
'ho was same attack
line as Yealy
he was and ended
up with four
en route to a 13
"That game w
Paul said. "He h
a freshman agai
top teams in the
road. We won th
a bunch of guy:
was a big reason.
that didn't stop
taking its third
title. Paras tallie
23 assists that se
from the attack t
'no problem, I'll
an MCLA char
year, losing in th
game, but they w
by Athletic D
Brandon as a
team to make tI
In 2011, Mic
RON/Daily became a Divisi
and Paras was
school career Going into his junior year,
packed his bags there was something different
for Paras. He left school as part
of the club lacrosse team and
** * came back to school as part of a
D-I lacrosse team.
Walking And with the jump came new
onto campus leadership responsibilities.
as a student The team struggled in its first
in 2009, Paras year as a program, winning only
was like one game. For the first time in
every other Paras' life, he had to lead a team
freshman: in that wasn't constantly winning.
awe at first, "We had to make sure
and then everyone was still enjoying
overwhelmed themselves playing lacrosse
by the work when in the back of our mind,
not only on we weren't having a successful
Id, but in the season in the win-loss column,"
Yealy said. "It was tough, if
make the you ask anyone on that team,
ege, you're still no one wants to be a part of a
ode where you losing team."
n get away with The two, however, took on
ght before the different roles as captain. Yealy,
hing is going to then a fifth-year senior, was
ssaid. more outspoken and took on
se, Paras was the vocal captaincy while Paras
class of seniors stuck to leading by example,
e attack for the not only on the field, but in the
lacrosse team. classroom as well.
he team's last "Thomas was the guy who
e at No. 5 BYU, everyone looked at saying 'look
an opportunity at this guy giving his blood,
ver give up. sweat, and tears day in and day
s in the midst out and if he's doing it, we better
winning streak be doing it,' " Yealy said. "You
three seasons. get sick of the guy that's always
ime, Michigan yelling and you see a guy like
had suspended Thomas who works hard and
fore the game, doesn't give excuses, it really
pumps up the
,It took Thomas finished the
a w hile to on the team in
find his vocal Yely,aehind
e was also a
leadership. recipient of the
-9 victory over Achievement Award.
The following year, he
'as his arrival," wouldn't have Yealy there to be
ad to step up as a vocal leader. He would have
nst one of the to step up and play that role on
country on the his own.
e game missing "He was captain young in
s, and Thomas his career," Yealy said. "It took
Thomas a while to find his vocal
s later, the leadership and make sure guys
was halted, but were listening to him. I know
Michigan from he was hesitant at first. I think
straight Men's that's the one hurdle he had to
sse Association overcome as a leader."
d 42 goals and Going into the first season
ason. that Michigan was allowed to
g year, due to formally recruit, Paras also
ns, he changed knew he wouldn't be the focal
o the midfield. point of the offense.
a team-first "As long as we're winning
said. "He said and I can continue to help the
be the guy, I'll team, points are points and
we're trying to win a conference
ies didn't win championship," Paras said.
mpionship that The team would end up
e championship winning only one game that
'ere recognized season, another season of
)irector Dave struggle, but Paras started to
good enough find his voice as team leader.
he jump to the "The unique thing about
Thomas is he had to learn
higan lacrosse how to lead on the fly, not as a
on I program, freshman," Paul said. "He had
at the helm of See PARAS, Page 8A
Before the start of the
Michigan baseball team's Big
Ten season, the Daily predicted
which Wolverines would receive
end-of-the-year accolades. Now,
halfway through conference
play, it's time to reevaluate.
Offensive Player of the
Year: Jackson Glines
Regardless of how you mea-
sure a quality hitter, outfielder
Jackson Glines hasbeen the man
at Michigan. Since transferring
from Fresno City College last
fall, the junior has led Michigan
in batting average (.342), extra-
base hits (18), RBI (26) and qual-
ity at-bats. His killer instinct at
the plate has allowed him to hit
nearly everything he sees.
"Every week, he's consistently
having a very high percentage of
quality at-bats of his total plate
appearances," said Michigan
coach Erik Bakich. "He also
hits a lot of line drives - that's
why we've nicknamed him
In small-ball measurements,
Glines leads the Big Ten with a
.455 on-base percentage. Once
on base, Glines' 10 steals in as
many attempts give him the best
percentage in the Big Ten for any
player with double-digit attempts
and put him behind only sopho-
more infielder Travis Maezes for
the team lead. By bearing down
on the base paths too, Glines has
put himself in position to score a
team-leading 19.8 percent of the
time he's on base.
Glines has climbed his way
into the conference's top 10 in11
offensive categories, more than
any other Michigan player. The
versatility and ability to do it all
at the plate is what makes the
veteran the Wolverines' midsea-
son Offensive Player of the Year.
Defensive Player of the
Year: Cole Martin
Bakich puts defense on a
pedestal. No matter how many
runs the offense scores or
how many shutout innings the
pitching staff throws, the game
will be lost if the fielders can't
consistently make routine plays.
defense isn't the person with the
fewest errors or highlight-reel
catches - it's the one who sets
the long-term tone for the team
both emotionally and physically,
catcher Cole Martin.
The senior from Bay City,
Mich. is one of the most consis-
tent defenders on the team, car-
rying a .989 fielding percentage
and committingjust three errors
on the season. These numbers
have been important to see from
someone leading an infield com-
prised largely of underclassmen.
Many errors happen when a
catcher throws to second to nab
a runner breaking for a steal, but
with the aid of a pitching staff
that leads the Big Ten in pickoffs,
the opposition doesn't have many
chances to run on Michigan.
"He throws with a great and
very accurate arm, so you don't
see a lot of teams even attempt a
stolen base against him because
they know he can throw very
Pitcher of the Year: Evan
On a team that has struggled
to find consistency, one thing is
certain: Sophomore left-hander
Evan Hill hasbeen ago-to player
who can pitch lights-out every
time he takes the mound.
At first glance, a 2-4 record
looks meager, but a deeper look
will showthe lack of run support
the ace hasbeen given. Michigan
has scored two or fewer runs in
five of Hill's 10 starts - putting
up a goose eggin three.
Hill has been the ace of this
squad. Since beginning the year
as the Saturday starter, he is now
the Friday starter - a position
given to the team's best pitcher.
Hill has held opponents to a
team-leading .259 batting aver-
age and threw the Wolverines'
only complete game of the year.
But his greatest impact has
come in the form of pickoffs.
Hill's seven pickoffs are tied for
the Big Ten lead.
"In general, holding runners
is something we place a lot of
importance on," said Michigan
pitching coach Sean Kenny
after Hill's start against Illinois.
"It's something we place a lot of
emphasis on. (Hill is) our best
guy atlit for sure."
If the first half of the season
is any indication, Michigan has
found itself an ace for this year
and the future.
Rookie ofthe Year: Carmen
A few games into the Big Ten
season, the standout rookie
appeared to be freshman right-
fielder Jackson Lamb, who made
two full-extension catches that
saved two leads. But Lamb's
inability to produce at the plate
has reduced his value, and the
new recipient of the award is des-
ignated hitter CarmenBeedetti.
Early in the season, Benedetti
had a few stellar performances,
including a .375 batting average
with two RBI in the Princeton
series. But his potential has
surfaced most against Big Ten
In conference play, Benedetti
leads the teamwith 12 RBI and is
second inbatting average at .326.
His biggest asset is his ability
to drive in runs on a consistent
basis, especially in high-
pressure, late-inning situations.
"Carmen has the knack for
hitting the ball hard at least a
couple of times a game," Bakich
said. "I think that's some-
thing he's probably done his
Benedetti provided a stellar
performance in Champaign two
weeks ago, going 6-for-11 with
four RBI on the weekend. In
the Wolverines' 17-9 win over
Illinois, he doubled three times.
In the most recent series
against Purdue, Benedetti pro-
vided the bang thatbroke a 12th-
inning game tied atlsix, doubling
downthe right-field line to score
Glines for a 7-6 victory.
If his recent performance in
the conference is any indication,
Benedetti will end the year as
the team's top rookie.
John Paul's team has improved over three years with Paras asa captain
Erik Bakich has the Michigan baseball team in fourth place in the Big Ten.