Taking pass on football, Xavier recruit Luke Mensik makes pitch for Lincoln-Way Central. ‘Just a great experience.’

Lincoln-Way Central’s Luke Mensik had a tough decision to make last summer.

He could continue to play football and compete for playing time at quarterback or give it up to focus on baseball, the sport his future lies in as he’s committed to play at Xavier.

One of the major things that pushed Luke to decide on the latter option was the opportunity to play fall baseball with his older brother, Landon. Plus, he was tired of missing out on a special trip.

“It was a hard decision, but I had the opportunity to play on a great fall baseball team,” Mensik said. “The last couple years, Landon went down to Jupiter, Florida for a tournament and it was just a great experience for him.

“I was really looking forward to doing that. I was able to go this fall, and it was a great time with him.”

Mensik is continuing to have fun this spring.

The junior infielder/pitcher was dominant on the mound Monday, striking out seven in a two-hit shutout as the host Knights rolled to a 10-0 SouthWest Suburban Red win over Stagg in six innings in New Lenox.

Landon Mensik, also a Xavier recruit, gave his little brother plenty of help, hitting two home runs, driving in four runs and scoring three for the Knights (14-6, 5-3). South Suburban commit Collin Senkpeil went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, Toledo recruit Liam Arsich added an RBI double and Braden Meyer doubled and scored two runs.

Andrew Speh and Bronson Sterling each contributed a single for Stagg (11-12, 2-8).

Luke Mensik improved to 5-1 with a 1.03 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 34 innings as he’s turned into a dependable ace for Lincoln-Way Central coach Mitch Nowicki.

“Luke’s worked really hard,” Nowicki said. “It’s tough as a two-way guy who starts at second base most days for us. But he’s committed to his craft on the mound. He gets his work in, and then he’s no stranger to working hard at second base and getting his swings in as well.”

Luke Mensik feels he benefited greatly from fall ball and that Florida trip, in particular, where the Mensik brothers competed in the World Wood Bat Association National Championships.

“It gave me confidence because I stood out there,” Luke said. “There were a lot of coaches watching and I was closing, so I had to learn how to calm myself down in some tough situations.

“It helped me learn how to not get too emotional and stay level all the time.”

Landon also saw it as a valuable experience for his brother.

“He’s always had some zip on his fastball, but that kind of taught him to learn how to pitch, how to locate and know he’s got to get ahead,” Landon said. “It’s just little things that come with pitching at the next level.”

Landon Mensik crushed a pair of two-run homers Monday in consecutive at-bats in the fourth and sixth innings to lead the Knights’ offense.

“It just seems like when they’re up, both of them are up,” Nowicki said of the Mensik brothers. “It’s fun to watch them kind of feed off the energy from one another. Luke does a great job on the mound, attacks the game, and then Landon helps him out with the bat.”

Luke said he and his brother are making sure they enjoy their last season together as Knights before they reunite at Xavier in two years.

“Growing up, we’ve always played together, but we weren’t really that close,” Luke said. “These past two years, we’ve done everything together, worked out and hit.

“It’s fun to finish this out together and hopefully do it with a bang.”