By Bob Balgemann
When he was an athlete at Harlem High School, Drake Robison no doubt heard coaches talk often about playing sports at the next level. He did that and made a name for himself in helping the University of Iowa’s baseball team win its first-ever Big 10 championship.
Now he’s at a level high school coaches probably didn’t talk about as much. He is one of 12 pitchers with the Windy City Thunderbolts, an independent professional baseball team that’s in the Frontier League with ballclubs from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri and Pennsylvania.
The Rockford River Hawks, then Aviators and currently the Rivets, used to play in this league.
Recently, Drake was on the road with the Bolts and was the winning pitcher in a 5-4 victory over the Florence, Ky. Freedom. Windy City is second in the Eastern Division, 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Schaumburg Boomers.
So far he’s started five games and owns a 3-2 record with a 6.17 earned run average over 23 innings of work.
He concluded his career at Iowa by pitching a 13-4 win over Northwestern, giving the Hawkeyes their conference title. He stepped into that pressure-packed role after eight pitchers were used in a doubleheader split with Minnesota, which put Iowa in the championship game.
That was his first and only season at Iowa. Previously, he pitched for Iowa Western Community College for two years and had one year at the University of Mississippi. He picked up junior college world series experience at Western, while concluding his sophomore year with a 6-1 record and 46

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