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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

Club baseball starts fresh with hopes to replicate last year’s success

Photo provided by Marshal Simon.

The 2022-2023 season had many firsts for UWL’s Club Baseball team. It marked the first time the club swept UW-Madison in a three-game series, the first regional championship and the first national tournament qualification.

In the national tournament, the Eagles won against Air Force after being eliminated in a close match against New Hampshire. “Last year we had a great team chemistry and were able to get hot at the right time. Everyone was all in, and you could feel that as the season progressed,” said Club President Logan Grossman. “We had some great ballplayers, and we’re lucky to have many of them coming back.”

Coming into this season, there were 19 returning players to try out for the 2023-2024 roster. That kind of turnaround can heed a lot of expectations for a team coming fresh off a National Tournament run. Including the returners, there were a total of 34 players competing to make the final roster. Only 25 were allowed to make the roster due to league rules.

The team conducted two tryouts on Sept. 12 and 14, with their first tournament scheduled two days later on the 16 and 17 at Illinois State. Between the two tryout dates the UWL club baseball team had to make their final roster decisions.

On the first day of tryouts, the team practiced indoors due to the rain. Baseball is usually played on turf or grass fields with infield dirt, making an indoor setting different.

The plan for tryouts adapted as the club officers split the players into three groups: infielders, outfielders and pitchers. The pitchers threw bullpens, the infielders fielded ground balls and the outfielders practiced catching fly balls and running routes.

The second day of tryouts were moved outside to the practice field. Following these sessions, Grossman sent out the final roster two days before their first live competition.

In game one at Illinois State, the Eagles beat Bradley 17-0 in Carl Biechler’s team debut. Biechler recorded three hits and drove in five runs.

Game two had the Eagles following up with a 7-4 win over Illinois State. In the final contest of pool play, they lost against Indiana. Despite the loss, the Eagle’s two wins in pool play were enough to place them in the semifinals against the Iowa State Cyclones.

The two teams met last year in a competitive matchup. The Cyclones narrowly defeated the Eagles 1-0. Both teams displayed strong pitching, but the Cyclones were the only team to put a run on the board.

The Eagles didn’t come home with a trophy in their opening tournament of the 2023-2024 season, but Grossman knew they showed a lot of potential they could build off. He stated, “We are going to continue to make improvements to our practice plan in order to be as productive as possible. We want to schedule as many games as we can to build more experience for the new season. The biggest thing for us is to keep things fun because that’s what we’re about.”

To follow the team, they can be found on Instagram @uwlbaseballclub, X @UWLBaseballClub and on TikTok @uwlclubbaseball.

The team’s next tournament is the “Duel at the Dells” in Mauston, WI, on September 23 and 24. Additionally, the team will host three home series this season against the following opponents:

Milwaukee SOE on Oct. 21 and 22

UW-Madison on Nov. 4 and 5

Illinois on March 16 and 17

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