The most noticeable part of Kyle Lefelar’s pitching performance Thursday against Lake Braddock wasn’t only the St. John’s pitcher’s ability to keep opposing batters mesmerized with his fastball, but also the way he looked in doing so. Lefelar has shed 25 pounds since last spring, which was essential in recreating a longer stride and becoming dominant as a senior.
“No soda, no Burger King,” Lefelar said of refining his body, and his pitching skill.
The senior right-hander replaced those old habits with a healthier diet and a devoted weightlifting regimen, and the payoff was apparent against the Bruins. Lefelar allowed just one hit and struck out six in six innings to lead the third-ranked Cadets to a 4-0 win over No. 2 Lake Braddock in a nonleague showdown in Northwest.
“I’m really feeling good out there,” Lefelar said. “Feeling a little more loose.”
Lefelar’s fastball was loose in the early going against the Bruins (3-1), as he struggled with command in the first inning. After going 1-3 at the Spring Classic in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., last week, St. John’s (4-3) was badly in need of a confidence boost against one of the area’s best in Lake Braddock — which entered Thursday’s game having scored 18 runs over its past two games.
But after Lefelar gave up a single in the first, he stifled the Bruins for the rest of the game — and the Cadets’ offense offered support in the third. Jake Bernstein, Brodie Leftridge and AJ Lee provided three straight doubles to push the lead to 4-0, displaying power that was reminiscent of the team’s 17-0 win over Sidwell Friends two weeks ago. The speedy Leftridge finished 2 for 2 with a run scored and three stolen bases. He had boundless energy on the bases, which in part was a product of waiting a day to play the Bruins after the game was rescheduled due to inclement weather.
“It was very hard. I definitely woke up expecting to play, but it just kept snowing,” Leftridge said. “I was definitely excited to get back on the field.”
After St. John’s explosive third inning, Lefelar retired the side in the next three innings, striking out three and walking just one. He had a similar outing against a Fort Lauderdale-area school in a loss last week, but St. John’s was an entirely different team at the plate and on the bases against Lake Braddock.
“I always trust my guys. Even if it’s not getting started early, I know if I do my job they will do theirs,” Lefelar said. “Things fell my way.”