By John Ring
Published May 5, 2022 in The Burg
All indications are that Coach Jeremy Pickrel is using senior righthanded pitcher Grant Aten as his #1 starter for the Silver Streaks in this 2022 season.
Aten has been a steady hurler for the Streaks and he has the experience and most importantly, Grant has fully recovered from a severe knee injury he suffered as a sophomore with the Silver Streak football game in a game against Quincy.
That injury was ironic in itself. Aten’s older brother, Connor, was the Streaks QB the year before and he suffered the same type of injury against the same team (Quincy) in a football game down at the so-called Gem City.
More than that, Connor recovered and had a solid two-year career with Heartland Community College as a pitcher and translated that to a transfer to Eastern Illinois University next year. And
younger brother Grant will be attending HCC next year as well. (Classmate Mitchell Sampson is also transferring and will continue to pitch for Western Illinois University.)
“I’m going there as a position player not as a pitcher,” said Grant after he pitched six strong innings against the Rock Island Rocks in a 9-2 Galesburg Big 6 Conference win. “I’ll be playing in the infield for them.”
Aten was money against the Rocks, allowing just four hits and two runs against Rock Island in the win. He wasn’t spectacular but neither did he get weak in the later innings. The knee injury is long forgotten and just a bad memory for Grant. “It’s all behind me,” he said. “I’m just glad to be playing and I’ve had no setbacks and there’s no limitations. It’s good to be healthy and playing baseball again.”
Aten was pleased with his outing against Rock Island. “Our offense came out ready to play today and I did my best to hold them to as few runs a possible,: said the Streaks righthanded hurler. “Kannon Kleine had a great day for us, driving in seven runs. You just can’t ask for anymore from anyone.”
Coach Pickrel, due to limited games and bad weather, is still sorting out his pitching staff but Aten looks like a good bet to pith one the Regional games in the post season, which also will be played in Galesburg. Crafty lefty Charlie Lardi also could be one of the starter sfor that position among others who still have time to build up their regular season resume for the Silver Streaks and Pickrel.
But Grant Aten, who was shortchanged like his brother of due process at the high school level due to an injury (and covid) looks to be front and center in the Regionals for the Silver Streaks.