Muskego's Luke Thomka assumes team leadership role in 2014 season
Warrior junior on All-Suburban unit
In one season, Muskego's Luke Thomka went from basically being a reserve to becoming the ace of the pitching staff and team leader.
"I didn't pitch as a sophomore on the varsity," Thomka said. "I was basically a role player that year."
This season, though, the junior blossomed both on the mound and at the plate.
He batted .355 while driving in 28 runs and scoring 26 more, and as a pitcher, he posted an 8-2 record with 71 strikeouts in 572/3 innings.
"He was at the top of our rotation," said head coach Jacob Paige. "We knew if we gave him the ball, he would give us a chance to win. He was always prepared and worked hard all year. There was never any question about whether he was ready to pitch.
"He also hit third and was a force in the middle of our lineup. He was just an all-around player for us this year."
For his many accomplishments and his strong leadership, Thomka is a member of the 2014 Now Newspapers All-Suburban team.
He was also noticed on a wider level, receiving honorable mention on the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association's All-State squad.
Paige called Thomka a bulldog on the mound, and this was especially true in the Warriors' WIAA sectional semifinal game against Oak Creek.
He had just two days' rest after shutting out New Berlin West 8-0 in a regional title contest but battled hard all the way against the Knights.
He allowed three hits in five innings with five strikeouts. He did walk seven but kept escaping trouble, and he kept his team in the game.
Thomka also doubled and scored in the 4-2 loss to the eventual state tournament qualifier.
"He pitched well in the regional final, then came back and did a good job for us in the sectional," Paige said. "He was our horse."
Thomka added, "I just wanted to power through five innings or so and give the team everything I could."
Brother was standout
Thomka, who said he hit the 90 miles-per-hour mark with his fastball this season, is the brother of Tyler Thomka, the former Muskego standout who now plays at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
As seniors, Tyler and Jake Breider had led the Warriors to 23 victories in the previous season.
"We played on each other's teams through the years until this past season," Luke said. "That was a special experience for me."
Now Luke is getting ready for his senior year at Muskego and is eagerly anticipating the baseball season, as the Warriors return the majority of this season's squad.
"We have some good talent coming back," he said. "I am looking forward to next year."
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