It was a promising start to the season for Pointers baseball, as the team went 10-1 in spring break action in Florida.
The team outscored its opponents 96 to 27. The Pointers played against some of the top competition in Division III, facing three teams ranked in the top 15.
The Pointers are now ranked as the second best team in all of Division III, according to D3baseball.com
Head coach Pat Bloom was very pleased with how his team performed in Florida.
“I felt like we played our best baseball against the better teams down there,” Bloom said. “We can’t help but be proud of the effort and toughness our guys showed.”
Bloom explained that the team’s stellar pitching performances and solid defense at the end of the trip is what led to success in its first game action of the season.
“Any time you can pitch it and play good defense, and throw up zeroes consistently, you can have a shot to win any game against anyone,” Bloom said.
Bloom went on to list some of the players that stepped up and performed well in Florida. The first player he mentioned was 2013 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, J.P. Feyereisen.
“I feel like J.P. faced two of the best teams in Division III baseball and shut them down,” Bloom said. “He really solidified his status as one of the most dominant pitchers in D-III baseball right now.”
Feyereisen has a 0.64 earned run average in 14 innings pitched. He struck out 11 batters and walked only three.
For Feyereisen, the take away from the team’s performance was that the hard work put in before the season is what really pays off in the end.
“I think we all learned that the work we put in from winter workouts and practices is paying off on how well our team was trained for long days and multiple games,” Feyereisen said.
Bloom also said Luke Watson and Zach Wendorf both pitched well in the opportunities that were given to them.
“Luke took that ball in a starting role two different times and gave us quality outings,” Bloom said. Watson also posted a miniscule ERA of 1.38. He leads the team with 16 strikeouts over 13 innings of work.
Wendorf has a 3.38 ERA and tallied 13 strikeouts in just over 13 innings, all while not walking a single batter.
“He’s a kid that struggled with control in the past,” Bloom said. “For him to not allow any walks while striking out 13 batters, it’s huge for this team.”
For the position players, Bloom said that Harry Steldt and Kyle McHugh both came up big for the team.
Steldt is stepping into the starting catcher position this season and did not disappoint early on. He posted a .375 batting average with seven runs batted in, all while starting every game behind the plate.
“He was able to endure some of the fatigue that comes from catching all of those innings consecutively, all while still being a productive hitter,” Bloom said.
Steldt said that the challenge of catching all of those innings was tough, but he was prepared physically for it.
“Preparing for that physically was just a lot of working out and running or biking to keep my legs in shape,” Steldt said.
McHugh came out of the Florida trip with the most impressive offensive numbers. He currently has a .429 batting average, 18 hits, four home runs and 17 runs batted in.
“I feel like Kyle carried our offense at some times,” Bloom said. “He gave us some big hits in times where we were sputtering.”
As a whole, the Pointers performance in Florida was one of their best to start the season in recent memory.
Bloom believes that the challenging competition shows the Pointers are battle tested and ready for the season ahead.
“Some of the teams we played are going to be at the top of the rankings all season long,” Bloom said. Bloom went on to say that the Pointers wins against those teams will pay huge dividends at the end of the season when teams are seeded for regional championships.