The start of the season for the University of
Wisconsin-Stevens Point baseball team is in full swing.
The Pointers have been practicing inside for more than
a month and play their first meaningful games this weekend in the Metrodome.
Stevens Point opened the season ranked 25 in Division
III. The rank is lower than most years, but that doesn’t change the
expectations of the team according to Head Coach Pat Bloom.
“We are going to compete at a championship level and be
a good representative of UWSP,” Bloom said. “That’s been the standard for this
team even before I took over.”
According to junior centerfielder Casey Barnes, the
team knows the expectations are there, they just have to play their game.
“The ways we deal with those expectations are to almost
put them out of mind,” Barnes said. “Since our coaches and players expect great
things, we know what must be done.”
To play at that championship level, some talent is
needed. Barnes believes this team has no lack of talent.
“The team looks great right now,” Barnes said. “We have
a competitive bunch of guys, and I am anxious to see how we will perform this
The Pointers have the talent in place to compete with
anybody, but earlier in the fall season the team hit their first bump in the
Cam Seidl, last year’s Wisconsin Intercollegiate
Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, experienced pain in his throwing arm.
Seidl required season-ending Tommy John surgery.
To make matters worse, Brady Nelson, a sophomore relief
pitcher, also needed Tommy John surgery.
“They are the first two Tommy John surgeries in the
program since I’ve been here,” Bloom said.
The bad luck may not affect the Pointers as much as
other teams, as they have the luxury of a surplus of arms.
“We have 14 guys that could contribute solid innings
for us this season,” Bloom said.
The Pointers return six of the eight players that
contributed at least 15 innings of work last season. On the offensive side, the
Pointers return a number of key bats as well.
Every position player currently projected to start got
at least 40 at-bats last season. Three of the top four hitters will also be
back to anchor the lineup, including Division III pre-season All American
catcher Ryan Schilter.
According to Coach Bloom, the biggest help this year
didn’t come from a new recruit but the addition of seven assistant coaches.
“It makes a huge impact on the development curve for
our players,” Bloom said. “The freshmen have improved at a faster rate than
It may be early, but the question remains the same. How
far can this team go? Barnes and Bloom both had similar responses.
“I do believe that this team could join previous teams
in winning a conference championship and potentially moving deep into the
postseason,” Barnes said.
Bloom echoed what Barnes said by stating that this team
could absolutely make a deep run in the postseason. He added that they have a
chip on their shoulder after the disappointment of last year.
“This year it’s about earning it,” Bloom said.