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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2017

Baumann named player of year

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Jul 31, 2017
Fairfield senior Cam Baumann was named the Southeast Conference’s player of the year.

Fairfield senior Cameron Baumann has been named the southeast conference’s player of the year in baseball.

Cam made the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association’s all-district first team, too, as a utility player. He was joined on the first team by teammates Austin Simpson and Hunter Hoskins. Earning spots on the second team were Kosta Papazoglou, Tristin Waugh and Cade Lisk.

 

Five years at varsity

Baumann concluded not only a terrific season with the Trojans, but also an illustrious five-year varsity career.

Starting on the varsity team for five years is an exceptional feat, particularly for a pitcher, because the position carries such responsibility.

The senior’s 344 career strikeouts are likely a school record, according to his coach, Josh Allison, who said Baumann has always been a strikeout pitcher.

Interestingly, Baumann said he does not think of himself that way, and that it is just a coincidence that strikeouts became the most common way he retired batters.

“I didn’t really expect to strike everybody out, and I never felt I had to,” said Baumann, reflecting on his career.

 

Using his defense

He added that it was a little intimidating to be one of the few eighth-graders on the varsity team. He knew that if he could induce the hitter to make weak contact, his sure-handed defense would make the plays behind him.

“My attitude early on was to get the batter to put the ball in play and let the fielders do most of the work,” he said. “That changed once I started throwing harder, and more strikeouts came. I developed more break on my curve and slider, which hitters struggled with, and that also led to more strikeouts.”

Baumann had success right off the bat. After pitching a few games at the JV level, he was promoted to varsity. The team won every game he started that year.

Cam played on a traveling team from Iowa City called the Longhorns before starting high school ball, and he credits those coaches with honing his pitching talent, and particularly his curveball.

“In freshmen games, you don’t see too many curveballs at all,” he said. “Curveballs can be hard on a young kid’s arm, but Coach Jeff Martin [of the Longhorns] taught me how to throw them safely. It wasn’t just something I figured out on my own.”

Cam was throwing a lot of curveballs by the time he entered eighth grade. And despite all the practice, he said it’s not even his best pitch.

“I’d definitely say my slider is the hardest pitch to hit,” he said. “It has even more effect on lefties because it starts right at them and then sweeps across the plate.”

 

University of Iowa

Last fall, Baumann signed a letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Iowa. In fact, he’s already in Iowa City, and has been practicing with the team for more than a week.

“I had no time off at all [between high school ball and college]. We had games last week on Tuesday and Thursday,” he said.

The college baseball season doesn’t begin until spring, but the Hawkeyes are getting a head start because they will represent the United States in the World University Games in Taipei, Taiwan. The games are from Aug. 19-30.

The United States will be joined by other teams from nations such as the Czech Republic, France, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia and the host nation, Taiwan (Chinese Taipei).

“The roster hasn’t been set yet, so there’s a possibility I could go. It might depend on how I do in practice and in these next pickup games,” Baumann said. “It also depends on how many pitchers we need to take.”

University of Iowa coaches have told Baumann he could play the outfield, too. For Fairfield, Baumann usually played center field when he wasn’t pitching. At the plate, he was an adept hitter, batting .374.

“What I miss most is playing with the guys I grew up with,” Cam said. “It’s been a big change. I’ve played in a few games up here, and I really enjoy it. I’m very excited for what the next couple of years will bring.”

 

 

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