This story looks at a pair of brothers playing for the same baseball team.
|By CORY STEGER
ThisWeek Staff Writer
Gahanna Lincoln High School senior Ben Bokor can throw pretty hard, but has never thrown a 90-mph fastball. His fastball tops out at 88.
So what makes Bokor one of the area's elite pitchers?
It's not having signed to play baseball next year at Ohio State after spurning multiple scholarship offers. However, you could see it that way.
One could point to his work ethic, his desire to improve each day and perfect his pitches. But to say hard work alone made Bokor an elite pitcher would be a disservice to all the other pitchers in the area who work hard that won't find themselves in a Buckeye uniform next year.
What Bokor possesses is the unique ability to throw four different pitches with extreme proficiency.
His two- and four-seam fastballs continue to hit mid- and upper-80s even late in games. His changeup is a good complement to his fastball, his curveball has a lot of break on it and his slider has late movement that makes it hard to hit. What separates Bokor from the rest is that each pitch is as strong as the next and he does not rely on any one pitch.
Gahanna has had its share of good pitchers, including Ben and Brock Trimbur, who are both pitching at Ohio, and Christian Lockett, who is playing for Kent State. And Lions assistant coach and pitching coach Brian Hull says Bokor ranks up there with the best he's seen.
In 22 innings this season, Bokor has struck out 19 batters and compiled a 3.00 ERA. In 250 chances in the field between pitcher and first base, he has not committed an error, which is a program record. He struck out 43 batters his junior year, had just 14 walks and only allowed three extra-base hits.
"We've had a lot of good ones, but I don't want to say he's better than the rest because his career isn't over yet," Hull said.
But Bokor hasn't done it all on his own. Since little league, Bokor has been playing baseball on the same team as his identical twin brother, Josh Bokor. Even further than playing on the same team, Josh has been a catcher for Ben since they were 10. Having played so many games together as battery mates, it has allowed them to develop a level of chemistry that is rare for this level.
"You know, we're not 'twinny' about it in any way, but when it comes to calling the game he's always on the same page as me," said Ben Bokor, the younger twin by three minutes. "It's a tremendous advantage that other pitchers don't have. Aside from camps and clinics, I've thrown less than 10 innings to other guys."
Unlike his brother, Josh Bokor was not recruited by Ohio State. He has drawn the interest of multiple unspecified Division I programs around the area and received some scholarship offers, but still hasn't made his decision on where he wants to go. Through the Lions' first 14 games, Josh was batting .400 with nine RBI and had a .500 on-base percentage.
"A lot of people overshadow Josh, but without him I wouldn't be anywhere close to where I am today," Ben Bokor said. "He does all the dirty work, all the behind-the-scenes stuff."
Ben and Josh Bokor are in their third year as student-athletes at Gahanna. They helped lead the Lions to consecutive Division I district championships the last two years. They were originally from Bexley, but transferred after their freshman year.
"Part of the decision was for baseball, but it was also because we needed a different view of life," Ben Bokor said. "We needed a change. Gahanna offered more diversity and different kinds of people, and we liked that."
Through the Lions first 14 games, they were 9-5 overall and 3-3 (fifth) in the OCC-Ohio Division. Entering the season with expectations of winning a league title and advancing to the state tournament, Gahanna will continue to lean on the Bokor brothers.
"With all of our recent success, the OCC is something we haven't won. We want to win it, and it starts right now," Ben Bokor said. "We'll bring it together soon because I think we've got all the potential in the world."