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Senior David Novak has earned his spot in the Lakeland College baseball record book.
Lakeland's catcher, an Algoma, Wis., native, broke Lakeland's career doubles record on April 21 against Rockford College. Novak earned the feat in the seventh inning when he drilled the ball down the left field line to record his 39th double.
Novak had 34 doubles entering the 2011 season, needing just five to break the record (38) set by Andy Felder (1997-'01).
Novak added to his record with his 40th double against Wisconsin Lutheran College on April 23. Novak added his name to the Lakeland record book after a stand-out junior season where he recorded 17 doubles, which ranks third on the single season doubles list.
"It means a lot to have set the new record," said Novak. "I've worked hard at hitting from my freshman year until now, and my batting average has stayed consistent. In high school I didn't hit that well, but I've gotten a lot stronger, which has given me more power in my swing."
Novak's record-breaking season doesn't stop at doubles. The slugger is three runs batted in away from breaking Felder's career RBI record of 102. Novak sits at 100 RBIs with four doubleheaders left in the season.
"To be the run producer on the team is an honor," said Novak. "Coach has confidence in me to get people in when they're on base."
Lakeland head coach Chris Thousand is proud of the player Novak has become.
"David has been the rock in the foundation the last four years," said Thousand. "He has done a great job at catcher, which is a position where communication is critical. His work ethic is one of the best I've seen, and he made himself into a great player and person."
Perhaps more important than Novak's doubles record is his bragging rights over his older brother, Doug, a 2010 Lakeland graduate who is tied for seventh on Lakeland's single season doubles list with 14 in the 2009 season.
"Doug is a great player," said Novak. "I'm not sure that I have bragging rights over him because I had more opportunities to play, which is why I have more career doubles. He will always have more power than me, though. I don't know how he does it, but he hits bombs and doubles all the time."
David Novak is graduating in May with a bachelor's degree in fitness studies and a minor in sport management. His baseball career is one of the most prolific in Lakeland baseball history, and future Muskies will no doubt take aim at his records.
"I came here to play baseball," said Novak. "Playing at Lakeland means everything to me."