Dylan Tolbert hasn't reduced his effort, just his stress level.

"I just decided, senior year, I was going to make this fun and not a job," Tolbert said.

Tolbert's new approach has paid big dividends. The senior second baseman leads St. Augustine with a .473 batting average (26 for 55) and also has scored a team-best 17 runs.

On Saturday, Tolbert was 3 for 3 and reached base four times as St. Augustine beat Clearview, 5-2, in the first round of the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic.

The Hermits, who are No. 5 in The Inquirer's Top 10, face No. 9 Audubon in Saturday's quarterfinals at Deptford.

"He's a senior leader," St. Augustine coach Mike Bylone said of Tolbert. "He's giving us everything he's got."

Tolbert has battled through shin splits and also has been on medication since being diagnosed with a hyperactive thyroid about five months ago.

"At first it made me a little sluggish, but I feel OK now," Tolbert said of the medication.

Tolbert, who lives in Washington Township, plans to attend Rowan and play baseball for the Profs.

But he was struck the other day when Bylone reminded the seniors that they were entering the final days of their careers.

"He said something like, 'You might have 30 at-bats left in your career,' " Tolbert said. "It's a scary thought. It makes you want to make the most of these last games that you have in high school."