The senior third baseman sat out his junior season after transferring to New Life Academy. He made his presence felt by helping the Eagles to their second consecutive Class 2A state championship with a game-winning three-run homer in the semifinals. He spoke with staff writer Jim Paulsen after their 6-5, 8-inning victory over Springfield in the finals.
Q: What school were you at before going to New Life Academy?
A: I went to Hudson in Wisconsin.
Q: How did it feel watching the team win a state championship last year and not being able to play?
A: It felt awful, actually. I remember watching all the games and thinking “What if I could do this?” I’m glad I had a year of eligibility left this year.
Q: How excited were you to get the chance to play prior to this season?
A: I was so pumped. I knew we had the talent to do it. Now that it’s done, it’s an awesome feeling.
Q: How long did it take you to feel like you fit in with this team?
A: Right away. Last year, I practiced with them, so I went through everything, but this year, being on the field with them is great.
Q: When did you make your first contribution to the team?
A: I think in the first game. I went 3-for-5 and we beat Providence Academy, a [Class] 2A team that also made the state tournament. I knew then that we had something special here.
Q: Talk about your home run in semifinals.
A: That was awesome. I was sitting on a fastball and he threw me one, down-and-in, and I hit it. I was ready for it.
Q: When did you realize that it was gone?
A: I thought it was foul at first. It actually curved around the foul pole. Once I knew it was gone, I was pumped.
Q: Do you even remember touching the bases?
A: I don’t. It was all such a blur. I just remember touching home.