Baumann to play college baseballSigns National Letter of Intent to play for the University of Iowa
Hitters in the Southeast Conference cannot wait for the day Cameron Baumann graduates from high school. Unfortunately for them, Baumann has another summer left to torment opposing teams from the pitcher’s mound.
But the really unhappy batters aren’t in eastern Iowa – they’re in Nebraska, Indiana and Ohio who learned last week they will have to face Baumann next school year when he pitches for the University of Iowa. Baumann officially signed his letter of intent to pitch at the university Nov. 9 surrounded by his mother Pam, father Greg, and coaches Josh Allison, Jeff Eeling and Brad Snowgren.
Baumann’s stellar performance on the diamond in 2016 induced a tidal wave of accolades such as Southeast Conference Player of the Year and being named to the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association’s Second Team All-State for Class 3A. He was one of the best sluggers on a good hitting Fairfield team that went 27-8. His four homers tied for most in the conference. Baumann also developed a keen eye at the plate as he walked more than four times as often as he struck out, unheard of for an everyday player.
Where Baumann truly stood out was from the rubber. He was quite possibly the most feared pitcher in the conference, as attested to by his gaudy strikeout total. More than half the outs he recorded last summer came via the punchout as he wracked up 79 of them in 43.2 innings of work. The next highest strikeout mark in the conference was Keokuk’s Chandler Saunders with 59, not even within shouting distance.
Getting a hit off Baumann was the hardest thing a coach could ask of their players. Baumann’s opponents batted only .178 against him, the lowest against any pitcher in the SEC. His main weapon is the fastball, which overpowers all but the quickest bats. If he feels a hitter is getting around on his heater, the crafty lefty turns to Plan B.
“When I think I need to take some hitters more carefully, I will start to mix up my pitches and trick them,” said Baumann, who developed off-speed pitches including a curveball as early as Little League.
In the major leagues, starting pitchers throw once every five or six days, and focus the rest of the week on rest and light exercise. Baumann follows a similar routine, starting one game a week. In between, however, he can’t rest because his team is counting on him to patrol centerfield, a position he’s played for as long as he can remember.
Cam’s talents with a baseball were evident as a young boy. His parents recognized this and pulled him out of Little League to play on a traveling team in Iowa City. The team members played other traveling squads in the state and throughout the country, going as far as Denver, South Bend, Indiana, and Florida for tournaments.
Scouts began taking an interest in Baumann early in his high school career. He pitched in a game at Pella during his freshman season. Unbeknownst to Cam was that University of Iowa recruiter Marty Sutherland was sitting in the bleachers. Cam only found out the following day when Sutherland called him to say how pleased he was with the young man’s performance.
“He said the thing that most impressed him was my demeanor on the mound,” Baumann said. “He knew the ump was not giving me some calls, but I didn’t show any emotions, and that really stood out to him.”
Baumann was heartened to receive such interest at such a young age. The following year, he verbally committed to pitch for the Hawkeyes.
“The biggest thing that made me want to go there was just the relationship with them,” he said. “They are [as] committed to me as I am to the Hawkeyes. They can get me ready for the next level as long as my arm stays healthy.”
With his path to college ball already paved, Baumann surprised some folks by going out for football this fall. His parents often heard from fans who wondered whether Cam was jeopardizing his baseball career by playing another contact sport. Cam said he never thought twice about it.
“I have a good relationship with the coach [Mike Schenck], and my dad played football at the University of Iowa,” he said. “It just would have felt weird not playing and coming from a football family, and I do love football. I still wish there were more games to come.”
Baumann excelled on the gridiron this year, leading his team in total yards from the quarterback position while proving that his leg was as mighty as his arm. His 41.8 yards per punt were second best in Class 3A.
Despite his accomplishments on the football field, Baumann said his true love is America’s pastime.
“Baseball is by far my favorite sport,” he said. “I love playing sports, but baseball is one thing that I feel like I could never get tired of playing.”