Forward Focus: WIU pair hopes to carry summer success to next sp - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Forward Focus: WIU pair hopes to carry summer success to next spring

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WIU's Erik Maki has plans of parlaying his success this summer with the Gems to full time duty with the Leathernecks next spring. WIU's Erik Maki has plans of parlaying his success this summer with the Gems to full time duty with the Leathernecks next spring.

QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -- For Western Illinois sophomore pitcher Aaron Michel and outfielder Erik Maki there's no time than the present and the future.

As far as the present both are in the midst of a playoff race as first year members of the Quincy Gems.

As far as the future both Michel and Maki aspire to leave their mark in Macomb - winning a conference title and an extended stay in the postseason.

In fact Michel, who's a Prospect League All-Star and a reigning freshman All-American, says the hope and desire is the ultimate experience for college baseball players.

"At the end of the year all you have to do is win eight games and you're in the College World Series, and you live the dream. That's exactly what me and (WIU head coach Ryan Brownlee) are focused on," Michel explained. 

"I want to have lower than a 1.23 ERA and I want to get 10 wins. I want to be the best that I possibly can be, and I want to show everybody that I'm not just a college pitcher and I can advance to the next level."

Michel threw two innings during Monday's first game with Springfield before leaving with what the Quincy Herald-Whig reports as tingling in the fingers of his pitching arm.

He entered with a 3-0 record and an ERA of only two.

As far as Maki is concerned the summer months gives him a chance to improve his skills with the plan of earning full time duty at Western next spring.

"My expectations are I want to get the starting job and keep it for the whole year, contribute to the team and hit well," Maki indicated. 

"We should have a good team and I want to win (the) conference (title), and go to the (NCAA) regional this year."

Maki is in the Top 10 in several offensive categories this summer including batting average, doubles, and RBI's.

Both he and Michel are big pieces to the overall success of both the Gems and Leathernecks.

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