By PAUL GOTHAM
Call it a case of father knows how to get the best.
When Lachlan Charles needs hitting advice, the current Geneva Snow Cat and Cornell Big Red outfielder looks no further than to his dad. It’s not that the elder Charles has spent time playing professional baseball, but Fran Charles has an inside track to tips from pro players.
“No matter how many hitting coaches or college and high school coaches I work with, he’s always been kinda my go-to hitting guy because he gets advice from professional players,” Charles said of his dad who is an in-studio host and reporter for MLB Network. “He talks to Major League players. He’ll ask them for pieces of advice and then he’ll relay that back to me.”
Charles has collected 10 hits this summer including a pair of doubles to go with 12 walks. He has scored 10 runs and driven in another six.
With travel precautions and adjusted schedules that have resulted from COVID-19, this season though, has been different for the Westwood, New Jersey resident.
“It’s funny because usually everyone knows who my dad is,” he said. “Since he hasn’t been coming around, no one on the team has figured it out yet. It’s really the first summer that people don’t know that about my dad.”
Charles is part of a Geneva squad which has rattled off 11 straight wins heading into the final weekend of the 2020 ICBL season. Winners of 18 games with three losses, the Snow Cats clinched the Interstate Collegiate Baseball League (ICBL) West Division earlier this week.
“At the beginning, our goal was to go 24-0, but obviously, that’s not realistic in baseball. We have a great group of guys and it’s been a lot of fun, a lot of fun.”
Geneva’s participation in the ICBL came as the result of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League having to cancel its 2020 season as a result of the pandemic.
“It was definitely weird,” Charles said of the PGCBL cancellation. “I was obviously disappointed. I was expecting to get the call that the season in Geneva in the Perfect Game League was going to be cancelled. As soon as I got the call [about the ICBL], I wanted to jump on it. Baseball is baseball. Live at-bats are all I really wanted to see, so it’s been great.”
Fran Charles joined MLB Network before the 2013 season. Prior to that, the elder Charles served as a studio host for NFL Network. Fran Charles also hosted PGA Tour Sunday on USA Network and was the play-by-play announcer on the HBO Sports series Boxing After Dark and KO Nation. He also was part of HBO Pay-Per-View Boxing and World Championship Boxing.
As for the best hitting tip Lachlan has received from his dad.
“The coolest piece of advice I’ve received was right before my freshman year of college. He (my dad) was talking to George Springer. He (Springer) is a huge fan of swinging early in the count. That was always a big part of my approach at the plate but hearing it from a guy like him makes it ten times cooler.”