Follow the Heidelberg baseball team’s trip to the NCAA Division III World Series in Appleton, Wisc. through the eyes of the student-athletes that have dedicated themselves to bringing national recognition to the baseball program and Heidelberg University.
Saturday, May 22, 2010 - Mideast Regional Champions
Steve Decker, senior catcher
Describe the regional?
The regional was a great way for our team to prove what we’ve worked so hard all year. It took each and every member of our team to win it as different guys stepped up in different situations in each game. Our pitching staff threw great innings that gave our offense a chance to relax and put up enough runs to win each game.
What does it mean to head to the World Series?
It’s hard to put into words what it means to head to the World Series. This is for every member of this team, but just as importantly every member and coach of the previous teams at Heidelberg that have pushed us each and every year. This is a great accomplishment for every Heidelberg baseball player, current and former.
What are your thoughts?
It’s an unbelievable feeling to win the Mideast regional for the first time in Heidelberg’s history. To be a part of this championship team in my senior season is the best thing a player could ask for. We are going to celebrate this win, get back to work and prepare for the World Series. We are heading to Appleton, Wisconsin with all the confidence in each other, and expecting to bring back the National Championship.
Everett Thomas, senior right-handed pitcher
Describe the regional?
The regional is about survival and finding out what you are really made of. We’ve been in the same situation in the past but could never advance to the next step. Winning the regional showed us how good we really are against the best teams around the mideast. When our bats and pitching click together, our team has the ability to compete with anyone in the country and I believe our performance in the tournament proves it.
What does it mean to head to the World Series?
Everything. At the beginning of every year our team sets goals to win conference, win the conference tournament, win regionals, and take the national title. For four years, Steve and I have got up at 4 am for a month straight in preseason in order to do what it takes to compete at the national level. Winning the regional and advancing to the national tournament in Appleton just shows how hard we have worked. It is great to see this result with the hard work we have put in with this team. At the same time, our team is not satisfied with just making it to the World Series. We are still hungry and we are driving almost 500 miles to bring home the national title.
What are your thoughts?
I am amazed at what our team has accomplished. We are excited to have won the regional and advance to the World Series. All of our hard work is finally paying off. This is something I will always remember for the rest of my life. There is nothing better than spending time with the guys on our team and achieving goals that we set from the beginning. All of our players are working together and when our chemistry clicks together, we are a tough team to beat. We have the mindset of finishing what we started and what better way to end a career than winning the national title.
Sunday, May 23, 2010 - Rest and Relaxation
Nathan James, junior right-handed pitcher
Hi my name is Nathan James. I am a junior right handed pitcher on the Heidelberg University basball team. I want to talk to you a little about how we bonded as a team the day after we won the regional championship. After sleeping the morning away and waking up well rested all of the players met for lunch at the team captain's house. We hung out together and shared all of our stories from the incredible win the day before. The laughs and short term memories stayed with us throughout the afternoon and into the evening as we gathered at one of the team houses to grill out and have dinner together. We enjoyed being around each other and played some corn hole and just lived it up while we were all still on cloud nine from the day before.
Monday, May 24, 2010 - Back @ It!
Andrew Buelow, junior center fielder
I’m Andrew Buelow, a junior outfielder for the Heidelberg University baseball team. I am going to take you through Monday, which was our first day of practice and preparation for the NCAA Division III World Series. Everyone rolled out of bed and read the email that we were having team lunch at our field and then practicing at 12 p.m. When we arrived down at the field, the coaches had premade sandwiches waiting for us. Once we all ate, we went through our normal stretching and throwing routine, and then continued with a quite simple, but longer practice. After practice was over, most guys went home to shower and relax before we all met up again for a team dinner at a local Italian restaurant.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - Last Day in Tiffin
Alex Monroe, junior left fielder
Today, May 25, 2010 was very similar to Monday so we could stay in the same routine. Some guys spent the morning packing for the end of the year while others were sleeping. We had lunch at the field at 11:30 then practiced from noon to about three. During practice we did individual specialty, offensive situations, on-field BP, and live hitting against pitchers who needed to get their work in. After practice Steve had a flat tire so we were trying to help him fix it and in the mix of things I locked my keys in the car while it was running so we had to call and wait for AAA. Tonight we had a cook out at Professor Stark’s house so we could relax and enjoy the evening. After the cookout we spent the evening moving some more furniture around and packing for the big trip to Appleton. Most guys are looking forward to a day off tomorrow to travel and get up to Wisconsin.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - On the Road
Today we left for Appleton, Wisconsin for the 2010 D-III College World Series. It was a long drive, but the team found dumb things to laugh at to pass the time. We watched plenty of movies which I really had no interest in. The only one I was into was Space Jam, which brought back memories from when I was a kid. Chicago sucks! Who wants to sit bumper to bumper for an hour and a half just to move 20 miles? After sitting on the hot bus for a while, we stopped off to eat at Wendy’s, which was YUMMMMM! In the parking lot before getting back on the good old Bluebird Gar and I played a game of baseball with a stick and a little whiffle ball. When we were done watching movies we started singing. Joe and I started to do a duet of Dr. Dre ft. Eminem. Such a good time, now we lie our heads to rest for a long day is ahead of us! GO BERG!
Thursday, May 27, 2010 - Busy Day in Appleton
After arriving in Appleton last night I felt pretty jet lagged from the time change so I decided to hit the sack early. Some players were up early while others woke up around 9:15 a.m. central time for our wake up call. Luckily we were able to start the day off with a well balanced breakfast provided for us by the Radisson. I had eggs, french toast, and raspberry yogurt. Once breakfast was over everyone relaxed and enjoyed the morning until we headed to the field for pictures, a barbeque, and practice. After an enjoyable photo shot for our upperclassman we were able to focus and get a good practice in. I thought the atmosphere was awesome, including the field. At 7:30 p.m. we attended the banquet that the NCAA put on. Heidelberg was well represented with Coach Palm being named Mideast Region Coach of the Year. Nathan James won the Elite 88 Award for having the highest GPA. Also Ricardo Lizcano, Andy Lowe, Willie Brechun, Jason Lash, and Steve Decker all earned All-American Honors. Tonight we are all going to bed excited for the baseball action to start.
Friday, May 28, 2010 - Game Day vs. Johns Hopkins
After being in Appleton a couple of days already, we were finally going to get to start playing baseball today. We woke up in the morning and had the breakfast buffet at our hotel again, which was pretty good. I had waffles, sausage, bacon, home fries, and an apple. After breakfast, everyone just relaxed in their rooms and hung out until it was time to get ready for the game. We left the hotel around 1:45 and headed over to the Legion Field where we took batting practice. Before BP, we each had a Subway sandwich and chips to get us through the game. After batting practice, we headed over to the stadium where we were preparing for our contest with Johns Hopkins. The game was a classic game that belonged in the World Series and we came away with an exciting 3-2 win to get us into the winner’s bracket. It was a quality team win with everyone playing a key part in getting the job done. Everyone out in Appleton is very nice and the host families out here are excellent. Our host family make sure that we’re well hydrated and always has Gatorade and water on hand for us after batting practice and games. The host family for UW-Stevens Point had a bunch of pizza leftover so we were able to grab a couple pieces to snack on before heading back to the hotel. Once getting back to the hotel we had to quickly shower before heading to dinner at a local establishment called Holidays. The food there was very good (I got the chicken club sandwich which I would recommend) and it was nice to relax with the team and all of our families after the win. It was pretty late once we left the restaurant and everyone was pretty tired after the long day. Once we got back to the hotel, we had a quick team meeting before everyone headed to bed. It was a good first day of baseball and everyone is excited for the rest of this weekend.
Saturday, May 29, 2010 - Game Day vs. IWU
We woke in the morning with a bit of a different attitude. We were scheduled to play our first night game since playing Adrian at the Regional Tournament. Waking up knowing that we would have all day in the hotel waiting for our game was definitely an odd feeling. Everyone seemed to be trying to find things to keep themselves occupied during the hours in between meals. Whether it was playing pool, sitting in the hot tub, playing Call of Duty, catching up on sleep, stocking up on free drinks, or hanging with girlfriends, everyone kept busy. It was definitely better sitting around and waiting to play in Marietta though. At least Appleton has somewhere to buy food that isn’t a gas station. Some of our day today was normal though. For breakfast we had the usual buffet down in the lobby then headed to on-field batting practice at the legion field. After a long delay we finally got our game underway nearly. In the end we lost to Illinois Wesleyan, but we will bounce back. GO BERG!
Ashley Stambolis, certified athletic trainer
Dear ‘Berg Diary,
Here is an inside out scoop on what it’s like to be around the Heidelberg baseball team. Today was a game day, and the guys were ready to play dirty, literally. Game days mean superstitions are in full effect. Not only for the guys, but for everyone that is a part of the Heidelberg baseball family. This week in particular we have been in rare form, from breakfast to pregame. Each guy has a certain way they do things from the second they wake up to the moment they step on the field. Even Morgan and I eat the same thing, in the same order, every morning and sit in the same seat and wear coordinating outfits. The team woke up with fresh new energy, including Coach Palm’s haircut and Drew’s new socks (thank goodness).
When we got to the field for batting practice the guys had their pregame meal. In the beginning of the week it was subway, but today we went back to our roots of peanut butter and jelly. Watching each guy make their sandwich is always entertaining. Peanut butter on both sides, jelly on one, two sandwiches, four sandwiches, it’s always the same, and it never fails that we go through several plastic knives. Unfortunately for Suddeth there was no ketchup for his sandwich today. As the guys were getting ready for batting practice the normal passing of prewrap and tape went on. Each guy has a certain way of applying their tape and prewrap. For those that I tape I normally have no problems but on occasion they get a little mouthy and I have to resort to violence, for the record I only had to set Derek and Drew straight today. Once we got the okay to go into the dugout it was up to Morgan and I to let Alex know what shoes to put on and when, just to make sure he was safe. The guys started getting their bats going and ran around singing to the country music in the background.
When we walked into the dugout everyone went to their certain spots and sat their bags down, today we were the home team. After the guys went through their normal stretch and throw, guys partner up and go through their handshakes and Ricky takes care of the eye black. Lash and Derek get their usual stretching in and I set Koehl’s water bottle down so he doesn’t yell at me, and we are ready to get started.
Today’s game was a way for the guys to get their bats back and get back into the way they know how to play. After we came out on top we were greeted by our host family for a cookout and then went back to the hotel to relax so we could get back up and do it all over again.
Needless to say, there is never a dull moment. The guys can find ways to entertain themselves when it doesn’t seem like there is anything to do, and although you don’t’ always understand the quirks they may have, you don’t question them because it has gotten them to where they are today and they are doing what they love to do and it makes you appreciate them even more!