LIMA — Colin Stolly grew up amongst the Lima Locos.
His friends and family housed Locos players during his years in grade school.
Now Stolly finds himself in the role as a true Locos’ veteran player.
The product of Lima Central Catholic is back for his third summer with the Locos. The senior infielder recently completed his third year playing at Ohio Wesleyan.
With the Locos, Stolly has seen the ups and downs of competing for a title.
The Locos went 28-7 in 2015 and set the team’s regular-season winning percentage mark at .800. They went on and won the Great Lakes Collegiate League championship that year by defeating Hamilton in the championship series.
“It was my first season playing summer ball for the Locos and it was a new experience,” Stolly said. “We had a lot of cool, older guys who kind of helped me out through the season. Then, last year I transferred into that role. That first year was a lot of fun.’’
Last summer the Locos went 28-13, won the North Division and lost in Game 5 of the best-of-five championship series to Hamilton.
“I’ve always talked about that we lost in Game 5, 2-1,” Stolly said. “We’ll look forward to this season, especially getting off to a new start and hopefully carry it out through the season.’’
Stolly has come full circle from his days of watching the Locos in grade school.
His early Locos’ memories go back to when he was a sixth grader and watching the games at Shawnee High School.
“The Williams family hosted B.J. Holloway and Daniel Furuto was over there all the time,” Stolly said. “The following year we had (hosted) Kenny Fellows and Anthony Toth. I’ve always looked up to those guys and we still stay in touch.
“Those are the real first memories I have coming out to the park every night. Mom would pack us up and say, ‘We’re going to the Locos game.’
“It’s cool to stay in touch with those guys and share some memories and now it’s cool to be in the role of those guys with young kids in Lima who kind of look up to wanting to be around you.’’
Stolly grew up playing basketball, baseball and football. In the sixth grade, he actually phased out summer baseball for AAU basketball.
But he soon returned to playing baseball.
“Once I got to high school and was around more Locos, and having them stay at our house, I realized this (playing college baseball) was something I wanted to do,” Stolly said.
At LCC, he set the school career baseball records for hits, doubles and pitching appearances.
His highlight was helping the T-Birds reach the state finals as a sophomore. Stolly was the leadoff hitter and starting shortstop on that team. He also saw action on the mound.
LCC lost the 2012 Division III state championship game, 1-0, to Wheelersburg at Huntington Park in Columbus.
“It was awesome and it was something I’ll remember forever,” Stolly said. “It was five years ago and it feels like yesterday. It was a tough call at the end of that game (an LCC runner was called out at the plate on a bang-bang play) and losing 1-0. After that game, we were all mad. But looking back on it, it was something not everybody gets to do.’’
As a sophomore at Ohio Wesleyan Stolly batted .355 with 13 doubles and 39 RBI. He stole seven bases. The second baseman was named first team all-North Coast Conference.
This year as a junior he hit .272 with six doubles and 24 RBI. He had seven stolen bases.
Stolly was a role player on the 2015 Locos. Last year he was a regular at third base and hit .238 with four doubles and 18 RBI. He had one home run.
Along with area players Colin Gossard (Findlay/Bath) and Brad Croy (Bowling Green State/Ottawa-Glandorf), Stolly makes sure the out of town players are aware of the area golf courses, the top pizza places and Cedar Point. There’s also the matter of organizing an occasional trip to see the Reds, Tigers or Indians.
All in all, it’s been a fun couple of summers to play in front of friends and family.
“It’s been a great opportunity for me,” Stolly said. “It’s been a good two years and hopefully a great third year.’’
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0468.