Izaak Siefken’s lively right arm will more than likely be the thing that takes him to new places on his baseball journey. Just a few days ago, in fact, the Illinois commit threw a scoreless inning against college players for the Denver Cougars summer team.
Yet contrary to the somewhat stale argument up in baseball’s top ranks that pitchers can’t hit — later updated to pitchers can’t hit except for Los Angeles Angels transformer Shohei Ohtani, who hit the third deck at Coors Field during All-Star festivities this past week — Siefken proved the pitcher’s God-given right with the bat, too.
On the back of throwing 41 1/3 innings on the mound this past spring for Holy Family, where he struck out 81 and touted a 2.71 earned-run average, Siefken was also among the best high school hitters.
The senior had an RBI in nearly every two at-bats with 32 in 69 ABs. He totaled 18 extra-base hits, five homers and subtly flirted with the out-of-your-league .500 batting average, finishing at .478.
“When you have a player like Izaak Siefken, frankly as a coach, it’s easy to build around someone like that,” Holy Family coach John Ray said. “There was never a doubt in my mind no matter what situation Izaak was in, whether he was pitching against a really good team or hitting against a top pitcher, that Izaak was going to make things happen and sparks were about to fly.”
The 2021 BoCoPreps.com player of the year’s hitting clinic couldn’t have been planned. Not like this, at least.
Despite hitting safely in 22 of 23 games this spring, the senior said he hadn’t come in with much work in the cage or at the plate in recent years.
Siefken said he is termed a “PO” or pitcher-only on his current high school club team. And since the high school baseball season was nixed in 2020 due to the pandemic, he hadn’t hit for Holy Family since 2019.
Then, he went 0-for-8 for the season.
“I came in with very little pressure,” Siefken said. “Our coach let us play with intensity and we just got to have a lot of fun. When I went up, I was just playing baseball. It was like Wiffle Ball in the backyard. Just hit it as hard as I can and see what happens.”
Hitting, of course, isn’t that easy. Siefken is a star high school talent with the kind of “it” stuff that says his career could go much further. Next month, he will head to Illinois, where he’ll play collegiately.
His ticket forward in the game is likely still dependent on his big right arm. The senior showed a plus fastball with nasty off-speed pitches this past season, going 6-1 in nine appearances on the mound while helping the Tigers come within a victory of claiming the Class 4A title.
In his last start, Siefken pitched six innings, allowed two earned runs and struck out eight in an eight-inning win over Cheyenne Mountain to move the Tigers into the season’s final day. Holy Family needed two wins over Ponderosa to hoist the championship but got just one.
The journey had been “awesome” all the same, Siefken said.
“Having that ride with these seniors one last time,” Siefken said, “it was the most fun I’ve had with baseball in a long time.”