Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Kyle Stewart returns home

Senior pitcher Kyle Stewart had a three-year career at Western Carolina, but decided to return to Wisconsin to finish his college career in his home state.

Growing up in Onalaska,  Wis., Stewart said he started playing baseball when he could first pick up his plastic Little Tike baseball bat to play around in the basement.

“I learned how to play baseball at a very young age,” Stewart said. “I was always around my brother Justin when he was on little league teams and stuff like that.”

Stewart said he and his family are a tight-knit group who have had good times and have always been able to bond around baseball.

His older brother, Justin, was a Warhawk from 2003-2006 and was a member of the 2005 College World Series Championship team and is now an assistant coach.

“Our pastime has always been sports, especially baseball,” Stewart said. “It has been kind of a family tradition.”

In his three years at Western Carolina, Stewart recorded 146 strikeouts, just 20 shy of breaking the top 20 all-time in the Catamount record book.

After a 6-7 record in three years at Western Carolina Univeristy, the 6-foot-5 righty decided to transfer after his junior season because his pitching coach was fired.

It wasn’t the only reason but he wasn’t going to enjoy playing without his coach because of the relationship they had.

Kyle Stewart pitching against UW-Stevens Point. Photo by Amanda Ong.

“I wanted to get to a place where I could succeed and be happy on and off the field,” Stewart said. “[Whitewater] was a good fit for me; it was close to home and it had a good program, which was the biggest thing for me.”

Stewart knew it was going to be a good fit right away because of the way the team welcomed him.

“As soon as I got introduced to the team everyone was very welcoming and very friendly,” Stewart said. “I’ve met some very good friends this year.”

Stewart said the differences between Division-I and Division-III are not too drastic.

He said one of the few differences is the velocity of the pitches.

Stewart typically throws between 88-90 mph and uses three main pitches: a fastball, a slider and a changeup.

His favorite pitch is his fastball, which he said is deceptive to hitters. Stewart said he uses his slider as a strikeout pitch, but depending on the hitters he might not even stray from using his fastball.

Stewart said he is very competitive and uses that trait when he’s on the mound.

“I enjoy pitching because I have an opportunity to compete every single pitch,” Stewart said. “I’m at one with the ball, basically everything starts with me.”

So far this season Stewart leads the pitching staff with a 7-2 record in 9 starts and has a 3.67  ERA with 58 strikeouts in 56.1 innings.

“Knowing that I have more control than the guy at the plate is something that I really enjoy feeling, knowing that he might not be able to hit me that day,” Stewart said.

Stewart said he’s been successful because of what he’s learned about pitching and about himself in his time at Western Carolina.

“I’ve gone through some things that have really opened my eyes to what I need to do to be successful,” Stewart said. “Just stay relaxed and go out and do what I do best.”

“If it’s not good enough that day, that’s how it’s going to be, but most days it will be because I trust myself and my teammates.”

Stewart will be graduating in a few weeks with a major in sociology and an emphasis in criminal justice. He can see himself playing in the major leagues if the opportunity is there.

“What will happen, nobody knows,” Stewart said. “I just have to do my thing and let baseball find me.”

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Founded 1901
Kyle Stewart returns home