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Friends from the diamond, Gregory-Portland alumni find success at the collegiate level

Friends from the diamond, Gregory-Portland alumni find success at the collegiate level
Posted at 11:38 PM, Jan 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 00:38:42-05

GREGORY-PORTLAND, Texas — College baseball players are already returning back to campus as opening day is set for Feb. 17. A little over a month away does not leave much time for preparation, but two Gregory-Portland alumni use their bond to get stronger together.

"Yeah this team was actually really fun. Not many guys on this team made varsity the year before that" Malachi Lott, University of Houston sophomore pitcher and outfielder, said. "We were scrappy, but we made it and you can see we only lost four games. That's pretty impressive."

Malachi Lott makes time to visit his old ballpark during the offseason. Great opportunity for training, but it also brings back memories.

"Made it all the way to the fourth round. We should have went to state, but we choked," Lott said. "We should have went to state, but it was a fun team. It was by far the best year I had playing baseball."

Lott's high school catcher at GP was Walker Janek.

"We made like a pretty tight bond with each other and I think that made it easy for us to compete against other people," Walker Janek, Sam Houston State University sophomore catcher, said.

"Like we were goofy. He'd always being doing something," Lott said. "Sometimes you'd see me pitching and I'll be laughing just out of nowhere and I mean it's a comfort thing."

Now Janek plays baseball for Sam Houston State University and Lott is at the University of Houston. Both former Wildcats made a positive impact their freshman season.

"Ended up playing in college our freshman year against each other twice," Lott said. "I pitched against him and I walked him. Got to a full count and I walked him. That one was on me. That was a loss. I really wanted to strike him out."

Lott ended his freshman college campaign pitching 14.1 innings, allowing 7 hits, 7 runs and delivering 17 strikeouts. In 138 at bats, Lott totaled 27 runs, 36 hits and 25 RBI along with 1 homerun.

Janek ended the year with a .995 fielding percentage. In 182 at bats, Janek totaled 37 runs, 56 hits, 33 RBI and 7 homeruns.

"Playing against Malachi in college was kind of weird just because we've always played together our whole lives," Janek said.

Returning home strengthens their friendship, that started in fifth grade baseball, and reminds them where it all began.

"It feels a little different," Lott said. "I can remember just yesterday I was running around in center field diving and catching pop-ups. I don't know it just feels so much smaller after being gone for so long."

Lott gives back as a mentor. G-P freshman Landen Mayer enjoys every opportunity he gets to practice.

"Having been through their entire season and going to probably over 30 of their games I'm so glad I had a brother (Christian Mayer) that played with them," Landen Mayer, Gregory-Portland freshman shortstop and second baseman, said."