Having 14 seniors on one baseball team can sometimes cause worry for the years to come, but the seniors on the ISU Baseball Club have paved a clear path for the future.
It is no longer a club that just wants to have fun, but a club that wants to compete day-in and day-out for a national championship.
“This is a talent-loaded senior class and they wanted to push the club in the right direction,” said Elliot Frey, senior head coach. “They wanted a culture change and that’s exactly what they have done.”
Four years ago, the team was competitive but not as serious as some players had hoped for. Practices weren’t structured and players were doing individual work rather than teamwork during practice time. The current senior class saw this and spearheaded a move that has ultimately put ISU baseball back on the map.
Three of the biggest influences on the program have been seniors Erik Rasmussen, Mitch Gerber and Dillan Dwyer. Rasmussen captains the infield while Gerber captains the outfield. Dwyer, on the other hand, has a more complicated job.
Dwyer is in charge of all of the pitchers. He has to decide who is going to throw when and who needs rest. On top of that, Dwyer also has to focus on improving his own game.
“I have coaching experience from previous summers, so it kind of came to me naturally,” Dwyer said. “I have learned drills that can make our guys better, and I love to watch them as they improve over the season.”
Dwyer owns a 2-1 record and has 3.29 earned run average in three games. Dwyer is considered the ace and solidified that role when he threw a no-hitter against Iowa as a freshman. Dwyer’s lone loss this year came from the bats of the Hawkeyes.
Rasmussen is a natural leader in the infield and from an offensive standpoint. He has experience most other players don’t have. Rasmussen started his career at Wartburg before transferring to join the Cyclones.
In his senior campaign, Rasmussen owns a .465 batting average and has driven in a team leading 17 runs. He also has a team-high of 20 hits.
“I’ve just embraced this leadership role and try to lead by example," Rasmussen said.
Gerber, who is in charge of the outfield, has played lock-down defense all year. Gerber owns a .323 batting average and has racked up six runs-batted-in for the season.
One thing that everyone has on their mind is how the team will be able to recover from losing almost an entire starting lineup. The answer is young talent. The team is loaded with it, and that will able to pick up right where the seniors left off.
The fall league that is used to pick new players will be one of the most important fall leagues in recent memory as they look to restock the team.
“Talent isn’t the problem, but whether the young guys will step up or not is the question,” Frey said. “The guys will have to change their attitude from bench player to starter.”
One of the biggest accomplishments for this year's senior class was when the club hosted the inaugural Cap Timm Classic. The Cyclones came out as champions after they defeated UW-Whitewater in the championship.
Every senior will be missed in the lineup next year for the Cyclones, but an even bigger loss will be the departure of Frey. Frey has led the Cyclones as a student-coach to a respectable 11-6 record that puts them in the hunt for an at-large bid for the regional tournament.
“The club has gotten to where it is today with the help of all the seniors,” Gerber said. “We have guided them into the right direction and the future is bright.”
The next opponent the ISU Baseball Club will take on is Nebraska. The club hosts the Huskers for two games on April 25 at noon and 2 p.m. The possible rubber match of the series will take place April 26 at noon. This game will serve as senior day for the 14 seniors who are departing. All three games are set to take place at Cap Timm Field.