After its spring training trip in Lake Myrtle, Fla., the Warhawk baseball team returns to campus with red-hot bats.
The team went 5-2 in Florida from March 22-28, and won all four of its varsity reserve games in Florida, including a game against the Minnesota Twins’ single-A team.
The trip was highlighted by strong offensive performances from several players, including freshman first baseman Marty Herum (.423 average, 22 hits, seven doubles, 10 RBI and 31 total bases—all of which led the team).
Junior second baseman J.T. Schneider (.349 average and 13 stolen bases), senior outfielder Matt Beyer (.386 average and 10 rbi) and sophomore third baseman Jared Fon (.417 average, 10 rbi, 20 hits and 30 total bases) also made significant contributions. Senior pitcher Kyle Stewart threw well and is now 4-0 on the season as well.
The Warhawks won their first double header Saturday by defeating Ripon College with scores of 16-3 and 7-6.
Head coach John Vodenlich was happy with his team’s performance in Florida.
“I think we answered a lot of questions and got better as a group,” Vodenlich said. “Of the seven games we played [in Florida] with our varsity squad, we went 5-2 but we were absolutely capable of winning all seven games.”
Herum said the team started to play their best baseball around the fourth game on the trip.
“As a team it was nice to come together and get on a roll,” Herum said. “We started playing some good baseball and that was a good accomplishment for us.”
A key factor this season has been the emergence of Herum’s hitting.
Vodenlich has said before he thinks Herum could be as good of a hitter as former ’Hawks’ All-American Jeff Donovan someday, if not better.
After hitting .428 on the trip in Florida, Herum leads the team in hits for the season.
“I think there’s always a genetic ability to be a pure hitter and Marty has that,” Vodenlich said.
“Marty has that innate ability to process an at-bat and slow the game down,” Vodenlich said. “As long as he continues to work and stay healthy, he’s going to be a great player for us down the stretch, and he might even have the ability to be one of the best hitters we’ve ever had.”
Herum was humbled by the comparisons to Donovan.
“That’s quite a bit of pressure actually,” Herum said. “Seeing Jeff Donovan last year, he was an amazing player. To fill his shoes would be one heck of an accomplishment.”
Whether or not Herum is a future All-American remains to be seen, but he is certainly off to a good start.
The ’Hawks will look to stay hot on Thursday as they begin a pair of doubleheaders against UW-Oshkosh. One doubleheader will be played Thursday and the other Friday at 3 p.m. on Prucha Field at Miller Stadium at UW-Whitewater.
“In the past, UW-Oshkosh has been a pretty good team,” Herum said. “It’s our conference opener and it’s at our home field so we expect to play the way we’ve been playing these last few games. We expect to take all four of them.”