With the goal of winning its conference in mind, the ISU baseball club went 4-2 in Tampa, Fla. during spring break and swept South Dakota to begin its road to the conference championship.
Many of the players credit their recent success to the team chemistry.
“With the group that we have coming in, I was surprised about the personnel on our team, about how goal oriented [we are] and how serious everyone was taking [the club,]” said senior Lee Gealow, a senior majoring in English.
“We’ve really come together. We’re only missing one guy from last year. Our chemistry is at its peak right now, and after going 10-2 in the conference last year, I don’t think we’re looking to take the backseat to anybody.”
Gealow said the dynamic at practice is a little more advanced compared to last year. He believes that is why the team is coming together so quickly this year.
“We had the same talent last year. It’s just the chemistry is so important once you get on the field, and you need to spend time developing that in practice," Gealow said. "We’re kind of beyond that point now to where we can get to the knitty-gritty stuff that we didn’t have time to practice for last year because we were building team chemistry. We’re getting a lot further along than we were at the end of last year.”
With the accelerated advancement, the team has been able to focus on perfecting the simple things at practice. Ethan Schroeder, president of the baseball club and senior in mechanical engineering, said the team has been focusing on the fundamentals, trying to weed out the errors and hitting in certain situations.
“I think what our team — so far this year — is a lot better at is driving runs in," said Adam Schmidt, a junior in chemistry. "Last year, we’d always get guys in position and we wouldn’t make the play or get a hit."
Many of the players approach the baseball club with the mentality of having fun but also being competitive and wanting to win. Schmidt said he’s there to have fun but he believes if the guys go out, have fun and play loose, that that can lead to winning.
“I think the approach that all of us take — and that’s what makes us so close chemistry-wise — is that we think winning is fun. Every single one of us is competitive as heck,” Gealow said. “Every time we step between the lines, our number one goal is to win. I think we all come in with the same mindset and that’s why our chemistry is so close.”
This weekend the ISU baseball club will take on Iowa in its first home series at Cap Timm Field. Schroeder described it as the biggest series of the year for the Cyclones.
“We’re always the top two teams in the conference, so it will probably decide who’s coming out on top [this year,]” Schroeder said.