The ISU club baseball team has gone from playing hardball for the past two months to playing the waiting game.
After finishing the season 8-4 in conference, the club is hoping this year will be the year they are invited to compete at regionals.
The club was in the same position a year ago, but the difference for the team this year may have been its performance in spring ball.
“Florida was big for us this year,” said junior Elliott Frey. “Last year, we went 0-6 and came away really disappointed. This year was a different story. Going down there and playing against ‘big time’ competition, and coming away 4-2 was a huge confidence booster heading into conference play.”
The players said the team’s series against Iowa also had a big impact on its season.
“A big moment was probably our first loss to Iowa,” said junior Dillan Dwyer. “The team responded great, and came back and won the second game of that double header.”
After graduating only one senior from last year, the team had high expectations entering this season.
“I feel like the team has performed well,” Dwyer said. “If you ask the team, they would be disappointed in the season. We went into the season with the only goal going 12-0 in conference. The final results of the season in conference play were 8-4. This is by no means disastrous, but the high expectations of the team set in the beginning of the year weren’t met.”
According to players, the pitching has played a key role in helping the team stay close in games throughout the season.
“To be honest, our hitting has struggled at times this year," Frey said. “[Our pitching staff] always brings their A-game, and that keeps us in games when we are struggling at the plate.”
The team will find out next week whether or not their season will continue to regionals.
“Waiting to find out about regionals absolutely sucks,” Frey said. "Last year, we all were taking finals, moving out of the dorms, apartments early and planning our departure.
"I went to hit with one of my teammates at Lied a couple of days before we thought we were leaving and as we left Lied we checked our phones and found out that we didn't make it. That was really tough," Frey said. "This year, we are in the exact same position and hoping for a better outcome.”
Players said they feel like they were cheated by not being selected to play at regionals last season and feel like they have played well enough this year to make it to the postseason.
"I believe we do deserve a spot,” said Club President Ethan Schroeder. “I feel we play in the toughest conference in the region, and not only have we proved ourselves as a top team in our conference, but we played well against a lot of top notch teams from across the states.”
The team will lose six seniors after this season, including its club president. Frey will replace Schroeder next season.
“[Frey] has a lot of ambition and has big plans for the future of the club,” Schroeder said. “He has a couple years under his belt already, and I think he'll do a great job of keeping the club heading in the right direction.”