Conference title in baseball, the Minster Wildcats are eagerly
anticipating defending it this spring. Although seven seniors
graduated from last year’s 23-2 club, which advanced to the regional
tournament, Mike Wiss still has plenty to be excited about with this
“We are very excited for the season to begin,” said Wiss, who owns a 212-103 overall record in 13 years at the school. “We have a very young lineup, so early season success can go a long way in building confidence. Offense will play a very key role in that success, and we will also place a huge emphasis on making routine plays defensively and not giving up a big inning to our opponents.”
The Wildcat coaching staff will welcome the return of four seniors, including third-year starting catcher Andrew Baumer, brothers Aaron and Allan Heitbrink and Vince Fullenkamp.
While Baumer, an All-MAC and honorable mention All-Ohio selection, will return behind the plate, Allan Heitbrink is also back for his final year on the mound, where last season he finished with a 9-1 record and a 1.17 earned run average. He was also a first team All-MAC choice and earned second team All-Ohio accolades. Aaron Heitbrink will fill one spot in the infield, while Fullenkamp will likely see the majority of his action at third base, but may also secure a spot in the outfield.
In 2007, Aaron Heitbrink earned first team All-MAC honors and was a first team All-Ohio selection, as he batted .500 with 28 runs batted in. Fullenkamp batted .262 and knocked in 13 runs.
“Our five returnees have played a very vital role in our recent success,” Wiss said. “Now they will be called upon to be our leaders on a daily basis, so a lot will be expected of them.”
Junior centerfielder Brian Mueller is the only other Wildcat returning who saw significant playing time last spring, where he averaged .391 at the plate and scored 25 runs.
The remainder of the junior class for Minster will be loaded this spring, although they bring very little, if any, varsity experience with them. Left-hander, Robert Gruber will bring a solid bat to the plate and will likely secure an infield spot in Wiss’ defensive lineup. Others still vying for starting positions in the infield, as well as in the grass, include Brian Phlipot, Sam Otting, Tim Brown, Max Dues, Chris Helmer, Jake Floyd, and Jack Griner.
“Our underclassmen do not have a lot of varsity experience, but they had a very solid summer in ACME baseball,” Wiss said. “Once they realized how good they could be collectively, they began to gel as a group and were playing very well at the end of the season.”
Junior Josh Corbit will likely hold down the number two spot in Minster’s pitching rotation, with sophomore Eric Trushaw hoping to figure into the mix as well.
Two other sophomores, infielder Austin Baumer and outfielder Alex Schmiesing, both look to make some noise offensively and defensively for the Orange and Black.
“A key this year, as has been in the past, is how well our seniors accept some of the younger players as an important part of what we will try to accomplish everyday,” Wiss said. “With the amount and talent of players we lost to graduation, this concept will be more important for us than ever before. One good thing though, is that this group is very eager to reach a high level of success. We need to have plenty of repetitions and work very hard in trying to make this be a successful season for everyone involved.”