2021 state runner-up Bay Port baseball looking to find their groove in 2022

2021 state runner-up Bay Port baseball looking to find their groove in 2022
Posted at 8:06 PM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 22:32:35-04

BAY PORT — Bay Port was the team to beat in the Fox River Classic last season as they won the conference and finished as the state runner up.

This year they have lost 15 seniors from last year’s team and are 5-4 to start 2022. The team feels as if they can breakout at any time.

“We actually have come a long way and knowing all the guys and stuff like that," said senior Theo Zeidler who will play baseball for Bradley University next year. "I think we’re just this close to being a really good team right now.”

A player the Pirates were expecting to rely on was Zeidler, a pitcher and fielder. During his junior season he earned conference player of the year. He injured his elbow before the season started, But he’s still helping the team out where he can.

“Like a volunteer coach I guess," Zeidler said of his new role. "Just trying to help out the guys as much as possible. We got a little bit of a younger team. So anytime I see something that could use some work, I’m just kind of helping. Help out like that.”

The young man filling Zeidler's shoes is Cole Bensen. The junior didn’t play varsity last year but is the ace on the pitching staff and starting shortstop.

“Probably the biggest thing is his leadership," said Pirates head coach Harvey Knutson. "He’s the quarterback on the football team and I think there’s a lot to be said for that just with his natural leadership and the way he gets the team going. They all follow.”

With many players new to varsity, they’re still getting to know each other. Before the season they were able to actually play outdoors as the team traveled to Florida to play some games and practice.

“We have quite an opportunity and take advantage of being down there, being able to do so many things we couldn't do up here," Knutson said. "Maybe, as big as that is the team bonding that we get to do.”

And the cohesion on the team is growing day by day.

“It’s definitely been going up a lot," said Bensen, who has a 3.50 ERA so far. "We’re building friendships. Some of us have never really talked to each other before the season and now we’re like best friends.”

It’s not just growing together as a team they need to improve on, they can’t seem to escape giving up a big inning.

“We need to just get together be like hey, everything is alright and just get those next couple outs to get through that," said senior Ky Mueller, who is slugging over .900 early on in the season and committed to UW-Eau Claire to play baseball next season. "I mean, we were really good at doing that last year.”

It's also doesn't help that every team they face is bringing their best pitchers to take down the 2021 FRCC champ. However, the team knows that will help them in the long run.

“You come into any of the sports events, a team takes down Bay Port, it’s their Super Bowl. That’s what we say here. You see team's storming courts, teams dog-piling on first base, there’s a little bit of pressure but something we’re definitely used to,” Bensen said.