Season Review: Pointer Baseball Ready to Build on Returning Experience
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point baseball team finished their season on a sour note in mid-May, losing two games in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament to UW-La Crosse. Now the players are looking to improve on last year’s finish.
Last year’s team tied for second place in the conference with an 11-9 conference record and finished the season with a 22-19 record overall. Though the team had some success, players are raising expectations for the team and not getting complacent.
“I would say last year was an improvement, but not where we want to be. To us, a season is a not a success without a World Series championship, because that is our goal as a team. We did show a lot of promising potential last year, but now we need to play for each other and our school,” said pitcher Cole Erickson.
Erickson identified that the weakness of the team was exposed when the game was on the line.
“The thing we struggled with the most was putting teams away and losing those close games that we should have won,” said Erickson.
Each year a college team will lose players, this year is no different for the Pointer baseball team as they lost seven seniors to graduation. The team lost outfielder Tyler Thomka, catcher and outfielder Ben Gerber, second baseman Clint Rose and pitchers Alex Thompson, Chris Hetzel, Derek Kawlewski and Heinrich Walder.
“All of them were a huge part of the team and showed great leadership throughout the year,” said Erickson.
Even with the number of seniors leaving the team, expectations remain the same.
“I’m expecting everyone to step up this year. Each year we must be better than the last. I think a lot of the returning guys have gotten a taste of what can be and how far we can go. I think everyone is ready and hungry to take that next step,” said outfielder Ryan Stanicek.
“We had a lot of young guys last year who filled in key roles for the team, so this year I’m hoping we all can build off that chemistry and keep everything rolling in the right direction.”
With returning youth on the team, players are hoping to showcase a top-level group.
“You can tell in the locker-room that there is more of a ‘wanting to win’ atmosphere. Everyone is putting in hard work this offseason to put us in the position we want when the tournament comes around in Spring,” said third baseman and short-stop William IIoncaie.
With a long offseason ahead for the Pointers and plenty of returning players, the baseball team seems set for more growth and progression.
Erickson added, “We will be a fun team to watch this year.”