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|2003 Varsity Schedule (27-16, 15-3)|
|7-16||Spring Trip-Ft. Myers, FL|
|Malone College (CC#2)
# 22 John Hopkins University (CC#1)
|9||7pm||Denison University (TP #1)||L, 6-1|
|10||12pm||#5 College of Wooster (Riverdale)||L, 16-6|
|11||9am||#12 Ohio Wesleyan University (CC #3)||W, 5-3|
|13||12pm||Wilmington College (CC #3)||W, 5-4|
|14||9am||Illinois College (TP #3)||W, 4-1|
|15||4pm & 7pm||SUNY-Fredonia (DH) (CC #2)||L,
|16||9am||Augustana College (TP #2)||L, 10-6|
|21||3:00||Dominican University @ Lewis University (DH-7 innings)||Cancelled|
|26||2:30||Marian (9 innings)||L, 8-7 (10 inn.)|
|31||2:00||@ Marian (DH-7 & 9 innings)||L,
2-1 - (8 inn.)
W, 9-2 - Called after 5 inn.(rain)
|6||12:00||St. Norbert (DH - 9 innings)||Postponed-TBA|
|10||3:00||@ Concordia-WI (9 innings)||W, 9-0|
|11||12:00||@UW-Oshkosh (DH - 9 innings)
|12||12:00||Concordia (DH-7 & 9 innings)||W,
|13||12:00||Lawrence (DH -7 & 9 innings)||L,
11-10 (8 inn.)
|15||6:00||@Edgewood (DH-7 & 9 inning)||W,
|17||1:00||@ UW-Stevens Point (DH - 9 innings)||Postponed-TBA|
|18||4:00||@ Maranatha (9 innings)||W, 16-1 (7 inn.)|
|19||12:00||Maranatha (DH- 7 & 9 innings)||W,
W, 12-2 (7 inn.)
|22||3:30||@ Northern Illinois University (D-I)||L, 17-8|
|23||5:30||@ University of Illinois at Chicago (D-I)||L, 5-1|
|24||3:00||Wisconsin Lutheran (9 innings)||W, 19-7 (7 inn.)|
|26||12:00||@ Wisconsin Lutheran (7 & 9 innings)||W,
|27||12:00||@ Carroll (DH - 7 & 9 innings)||W,
|2||3:00||@ MSOE (9 innings)||L, 8-7|
|3||12:00||MSOE (DH-7 & 9 innings)||W,
|5||6:30||@ University of Minnesota (D-I)||Cancelled-Rain|
|6||3:30||@University of Illinois at Chicago (D-I)||L, 17-2|
- Sheb., WI
game 4- #2 Marian vs #4 Concordia
game 5- #1 Lakeland vs #6 Edgewood
game 6- #6 Edgewood vs #4 Concordia
game 7- #1 Lakeland vs #2 Marian
Marian W, 10-8
Lakeland W, 4-0
Edgewood W, 14-5
Lakeland W, 4-3
- Sheb., WI
game 8- #2 Marian vs #6 Edgewood
game 9- #1 Lakeland vs #2 Marian
game 10- Same teams if necessary
Marian W, 5-3
Lakeland W, 4-1
7:00 pm (et)
10:00 am (et)
7:00 pm (et)
(DeSales Univ. Host )
Bear Stadium - Boyertown, PA (#4 seed)
#3 DeSales Univ.
#1 Rowan Univ.
III World Series
@ Fox Cities Stadium - Grand Chute, WI
PLUCINSKI GETS SAVE IN NORTHWEST LEAGUE ALL-STAR
July 16, 2003
Lakeland College pitcher Steve Plucinski picked up the save in the Northwoods League All-Star game Wednesday evening in Madison. Plucinski's North squad defeated the South by the score of 8-7 in 10 innings in front of 4,310 fans who came out to see some of the best talent in college baseball.
Plucinski wasn't slated to pitch in the game because he had tossed 6 innings on Sunday for his Duluth Huskies. But as the game went into extra innings his services were needed and Plucinski slammed the door on the South squad by retiring the side in order.
Plucinski, the second leading vote-getter for the team, also collected some souvenirs as he shattered the first two hitter's bats on weak ground outs. The third out was equally as weak as the batter hit a dribbler in front of the plate for an easy catcher to first putout.
The soon-to-be junior right hander need just 8 pitches and didn't even
need his best pitch to retire the side. While locating an 87-90 mile per
fast ball mixed in with a couple of sliders, Plucinski didn't even go
to his filthy changeup.
The game was tied at 7's in the bottom of the 9th after the home South team scored the tying run on a wild pitch. But the North squad tallied a run and took an 8-7 lead into the bottom half to set up Plucinski's save opportunity. Plucinski recorded the save in relief of winning pitcher J.P. Martinez from the University of New Orleans.
"This was another great experience for me and I was proud to represent both the Duluth Huskies and Lakeland College," said Plucinski.
The near capacity crowd, which had nearly 15 major league baseball scouts in attendance, included Plucinski's parents and grandparents who drove up from Mundelein, IL. It also included Lakeland head coach John Weber with his family, and assistant coach John Govek.
Former Muskie shortstop and Lakeland graduate Jim Kluck, from the 2002
Lakeland College World Series team, also was in attendance. Kluck recently
earned some of his own accolades as was named to the Rock River All-Star
Team representing the Hartford Hawks.
MUSKIES AWAY - HANSEN AND SCHMIDT PLAY FOR SHEBOYGAN
July 15, 2003
Two current Muskie players are enjoying the opportunity to work on their game for the Sheboygan A's, a member of the tough Wisconsin State League.
Junior third baseman Shane Hansen and sophomore outfielder Tyler Schmidt are getting plenty of opportunity to develop their skills against some of the best competition in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Furthermore, they're getting the chance to do it with a wood bat, forcing them to become better hitters.
Hansen, who was a first team All-Lake Michigan conference performer for the Muskies this past spring at third base, is hitting .253 (25 for 99) with 5 doubles, 10 RBI and 12 runs scored in 28 games. Hansen hit .364 (51 for 140) with 5 HR's, 17 doubles, 33 RBI and 38 runs scored for Lakeland this past spring as a sophomore.
Schmidt is hitting .159 (10 for 63) as he makes the adjustment to hitting with a wood bat. He has 6 RBI and 5 runs scored for the A's in 24 games. Schmidt is playing a standout centerfield for the A's this summer and has shut down opponents running game with his strong arm. Last spring, Schmidt saw limited action for Lakeland as a freshman when he hit .292 (7 for 24) with 7 RBI's, 1 double, and 1 triple.
The A's are currently 12-23 overall and 6-17 in the State League.
PLUCINSKI VOTED TO NORTHWOODS LEAGUE ALL-STAR
July 14, 2003
Muskie ace pitcher, Steve Plucinski was selected to represent the Duluth Huskies on the North Division All-Star team in the Northwoods Leagues All-Star Game. The Madison Mallards will host the All-Star Game July 16th at Warner Park with first pitch scheduled for 7:35 pm.
Fellow Huskie teammates Joe Bisenius, a sophomore right-handed pitcher at Oklahoma State, and second basemen Dale Legaspi, a sophomore at USC, will join Plucinski on the North Division All-Star team as well.
Plucinski is ranked 10th in the Northwoods League with a 2.08 ERA. He is 3-1 with a save in 43.1 innings pitched, allowing just 10 earned runs while striking out 43 batters against only 12 walks.
Im excited about this opportunity to showcase my ability
with and against some of the best collegiate players in the country,"
Plucinski is the only Division III player to make the All-Star team, and is just one of two Division III players in the league.
PLUCINSKI TOSSES ONE-HITTER IN RAIN-SHORTENED, HEATED AFFAIR
July 3, 2003
The Follwoing article appeared in Thursday's Duluth News Tribune
Huskies roll past Loggers
NORTHWOODS LEAGUE: Duluth hopes Wednesday's rain-shortened win is precursor to season's second half.
BY TOM LARSON
NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
The Duluth Huskies and La Crosse Loggers packed plenty into just an hour of Northwoods League baseball Wednesday night.
There were two home runs, several great defensive plays, solid pitching, and, for good measure, a little verbal warfare between managers and a brief bench-clearing tussle.
Most pleasing for the Huskies, however, was that it yielded a 3-1 victory before 523 at Wade Stadium in a game shortened to five innings by rain and lightning.
Pitcher Steve Plucinski won his third game, catcher Brady Koch hit two home runs, and shortstop Zach Thompson made a half-dozen tough defensive plays to lead the Huskies to their third win in four games.
"The guys are starting to play a little better," Huskies manager Jeff Casper said. "This is an important time of the year. We can't just say, 'OK, it's the second half, time to go.' We have to stack up a few wins, stay close, stay in it and have a shot to get in the playoffs."
The Huskies improved to 10-19 in the NWL North Division with two games against Mankato remaining in the first-half race.
Duluth is aiming to start the 32-game second-half race Saturday playing as well as it played poorly to start the season.
Though the middle of June, Duluth lost seven of eight games and fell to last in the North race. But the Huskies closed June and opened July with a split on the road in Wausau and a sweep of the Loggers.
On Wednesday, right-hander Plucinski again pitched like one of the league's top starters, allowing just a run on one hit over five innings.
He faced the minimum number of batters until Matt Einspahr homered with one out in the fourth for La Crosse's only hit.
Einspahr had some words for Plucinski as he rounded the bases, prompting Casper to yell at him and the Loggers' dugout. Loggers manager Estevan Valencia essentially told Casper that the Loggers would handle the issue.
Plucinski then dropped the next batter, Dale Mueller, who strode toward the mound with Koch at his side. The benches and bullpens emptied and the teams traded shoves before Casper, Valencia and home-plate umpire Jason Ross cleared the field and continued their discussion.
"It was an intense game," Plucinski said. "That forces you to have all your pitches working. (The scuffle) just gave me more fight, more adrenaline, and I took it from there. It's not only a game after that, it's a straight battle."
The Huskies took the lead in the first inning on Will Crouch's two-out, RBI double to the right-center field gap. Koch hit his second homer of the season, also with two outs, in the second.
Koch hit another solo homer in the fifth to cap a night during which he also threw out both Loggers who attempted to steal.
"I'm equally happy throwing out a couple of runners and keeping them out of scoring position as I was with the home runs," Koch said. "I just try to do whatever I can."
Thompson did plenty, three times charging ground balls at short to get putouts at first, one that he picked up bare-handed on the run. He contributed to the last outs of the game when Minnesota Duluth sophomore Joe Korneta, the Loggers' designated hitter, lined a shot off Plucinski's back. Thompson caught the ball in the air, then threw to first to complete a double play.
"When a guy like Steve (Plucinski) is throwing it like that, you
make a couple nice plays and he'll keep pounding it in there," Thompson
said. "It gives him trust in the eight guys behind him. A game like
this gives us a lot of momentum."
FORMER LAKELAND ALUMNI AND BASEBALL ASSISTANTS
June 27, 2003
Two former Lakeland College Baseball coaches who worked under current Muskie skipper John Weber moved up in the college coaching ranks last week, adding to Weber's "web" of coaches. Weber, who recently completed his 5th season for the Muskies, has now had four of his former assistants at Lakeland, three of whom are Lakeland alums, become head coaches at the college level.
Damon Day and Chad Gorman joined Jason Bartelt and Marc Marizzaldi as former Lakeland assistants to move on professionally in the college coaching ranks. Bartelt, Gorman and Marizzaldi are all Lakeland alumni while Day took graduate courses during his stay at Lakeland.
Last week Day was named the head coach at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, a Division II school, after serving as the head coach at Dana College in Nebraska the past four seasons. He was chosen from nearly 100 applicants for the UNK position.
Gorman moved up to the head job at Dana, a NAIA school, after serving as Day's assistant, thereby becoming the fourth former Lakeland assistant to land a head college coaching job.
"It's very exciting," said Weber. "It makes me feel good to know I helped these guys out in developing as coaches and people to obtain their positions. But make no mistake, if they didn't work as hard as they have or been as successful, nothing else would matter. They earned it on their own merit and I would not have recommended them had they not deserved it. I'm proud that they have been successful both on and off the field."
Day became the head coach at Dana four years ago and took over a miserable program with only 13 players on the roster. With Gorman's help, Day won 8 games his first year, 13 his second season, 24 his third and 31 this past spring, which included the school's first-ever conference championship in any men's sport. He also increased the roster to over 50 players, started up a junior varsity program, completely renovated the on-campus field, and became a fixture within the community.
Day and Gorman assisted Weber during his first season when Lakeland finished
15-24. They followed Weber's lead and learned what it was like to build
a program from the bottom up. They were both responsible for helping with
Weber's first recruiting class (he arrived in the fall of 1998 - to late
to recruit for his first team in the spring of 1999) that eventually went
on to a 5th place finish at the 2002 Division III College World Series,
becoming the smallest college ever to make it that far.
"I learned so much from Coach Weber during my time at Lakeland," said Day. "I thought I was ready to be a head coach but after working with John for just a short period of time I knew I wasn't. I took notes on everything he did that I still refer back to today. I never would have come this far if not for his mentoring. He was a great leader and role model for me both on and off the field and any success my team's achieved have been modeled off of his program," said Day.
When Day landed the head job at Dana, he asked Weber for permission to take Gorman with him.
"It was a great move for both of them," said Weber. "Damon became a head coach and Chad moved up from a number four or volunteer assistant, to the number two assistant at Dana."
Day will have his work cut out for him again as he takes over a program that finished 19-34 overall and in last place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference with a 7-21 mark.
"That's nothing compared to what he had to overcome at Dana," said Weber. "I'd be pretty worried if I were a coach in the RMAC. Once Damon sets his sights on something it's very rarely he's denied," added Weber. "That's why I picked him as an assistant five years ago."
Bartelt and Marizzaldi both moved on a couple of year's ago. Bartelt is entering his third year as the head coach at Marian College in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, a fellow member with Lakeland in the Lake Michigan Conference, while Marizzaldi recently became the head coach at Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, a start-up NAIA program. Both have already attained much success.
In Bartelt's first year in 2002, after assisting Weber for three seasons, the Saber's improved by five games from the previous year in the win column and set virtually every school hitting record. This spring Bartelt, who was chosen from nearly 80 applicants for the job, took a young Sabre squad and led them to a second place finish in the tough LMC and improved by four more games in the loss column. Marian promises to be a fixture in the future as they lost only two seniors from this year's team.
"This hiring was one Jason and I were most proud of," said Weber. "The fact that a school within your own conference would hire from our staff shows the respect our program at Lakeland had gained in a short period of time," said Weber. "He's doing a great job and I enjoy competing against him because he runs a class program."
Marizzaldi has already recruited 35 players for his initial season at Seton Hill this year and is one of the brightest young coaches around. He left Lakeland College in 2001 after finishing his Master's degree in Business and landed an assistant position at Duquesne University, a Division I school in Pittsburgh for two seasons where he helped lead them to their best season ever last spring.
"I've been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with these fine young coaches," said Weber. "They will all be successes with their programs as they are talented and hard working. I've been very blessed during my tenure at Lakeland to have had great coaching staffs. In fact, I believe my current staff is the best I've ever had," added Weber, referring to top assistant John Govek, graduate assistant Chris Thousand, and volunteer assistant Mark Weber (no relation).
He may be right. Under this staff's tutelage the Muskies have received the program's first-ever NCAA bids the past two seasons and won their second and third straight conference championships, while setting most of the school's records. And last year Lakeland finished 5th at the 2002 College World Series. But Weber is also quick to remind that some of these players were brought in by former coaches.
According to Weber, the only bad thing about the guys moving on, aside from not working with them anymore, is the razzing he gets from his former assistants. They refer to him as the "Bill Walsh" of college baseball. Walsh was the former San Francisco 49'ers coach who had several former assistants move on to NFL head positions.
"Again, they earned it," said Weber. "They were going to be successful no matter what field they chose we just helped them cultivate their talent. But it is something that Lakeland College should be very proud of."
All five keep in touch on a regular basis by phone and e-mail. They also get together when they can despite the distances. Weber and Bartelt see each other several times a year since their just a half hour away and they compete against each other on the field and in recruiting. And they all get together at national and state baseball conventions.
"It's like a big family reunion," said Bartelt. "We all
keep in touch and follow each other's progress with their teams and their
personal lives. We're all proud to have been a part of the Lakeland tradition
and to have been a Muskie. And when we do get together, we always get
a big kick out of another coaches' reaction when he finds out we're all
from tiny Lakeland College."
PLUCINSKI FEATURED IN DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE
June 25, 2003
THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN THE JUNE 25TH EDITION OF THE DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE
Happy camper in the Northwoods
HUSKIES' ACE: On a staff consisting mostly of Division I college talent, the Huskies' top pitcher is
Steve Plucinski out of Division III Lakeland College.
by Tom Larson
News Tribune Staff Writer
Justin Hayworth/News Tribune
Behind him are players who will be heading off to college baseball programs at Texas, Michigan, Minnesota and Southern California when the Northwoods League season ends in August.
Steve Plucinski steps on the mound out of NCAA Division III Lakeland
College in Shegoygan, Wis., which proves definitively that the eye of
the beholder can be made to blink by an impressive stat sheet.
"He's listed at, what, 6-foot, 170 pounds, if that?" said Jeff Casper, Plucinski's manager with the Duluth Huskies. "Scouts look at that and they're not impressed. I don't care if he's from the best program in the country or Lakeland College. What matters to me is if he performs, and he does."
Plucinski, a junior at Lakeland, has been the Huskies' ace. And that's saying a lot about a first-year outfit that's struggled mightily.
The Huskies rank last in the 10-team league with just five victories in their first 20 games, and a 5.20 earned-run average.
But Plucinski, despite a relatively poor showing in his third appearance at St. Cloud last week, is 2-1 with a 1.02 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings. He got the win in Duluth's 6-5 win over Waterloo on Monday in relief.
"I'm kind of surprised by how I've done," said Plucinski, who is expected to start today or Thursday during a six-game homestand. "It's different, but I just want to go out and see what I can do."
Plucinski was virtually unnoticed coming out of Mundelein, Ill., two years ago, with modest vital statistics that might have thrown college recruiters and pro scouts off his scent.
"I had a great senior year in high school," Plucinski said. "I was 14-2 with an ERA around 2.70, but a lot of colleges didn't know about me or had no interest."
Nonetheless, he played as a freshman and earned third-team All-America honors on a Lakeland team that won the Division III Midwest Region in 2002 and advanced to the division World Series.
This spring, he finished 4-5 overall, but with a 2.55 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings. He started 11 games, pitched four complete games and two shutouts. And when he wasn't pitching, Plucinski was Lakeland's regular second baseman, hitting .267 with 18 RBIs and nine stolen bases.
He helped lead Lakeland to its third straight Lake Michigan Conference championship by tying a Division III record with 22 strikeouts in a 6-0 win over Edgewood College this spring. That performance earned him mention in Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd section two weeks ago.
With the Huskies, he earned a save in the franchise's first victory, allowing a run and striking out six in four innings on June 4. In the team's first home win on June 7, Plucinski started and shutout Alexandria on five hits while striking out five over seven innings.
Given his propensity to play in the field when he's not pitching, he's become antsy and offered up his services between starts.
"He's an unbelievable kid," Huskies pitching coach Mike Crawford said. "He's come up to me and said, 'Hey, if you need me, I can go.' That's on two days rest. Obviously, we wouldn't do that, but you like to see a kid who wants the ball."
Plucinski gets by on three pitches: a solid fastball, a slider that serves as a "sharp out pitch," and a circle changeup that he likes more every time he uses it.
"My biggest pitch is my changeup," he said. "When you get to this level, you have to have a changeup. I think it's almost mandatory if you want to compete."
Plucinski first heard about the Northwoods League from a former Lakeland teammate, Ryan Govek, who played two years in the league.
"My coach (John Weber) set me up in the league and told me it's something I really needed to do to give myself a chance (at professional baseball)," Plucinski said. "You have to see how you stack up against better competition."
So far, so good, although Plucinski still believes he has plenty to learn from all the players from big-time programs who know themselves that strata often has little to say about skill.
"The support is there," he said. "All my teammates help me out. It's a great atmosphere to be around a lot of players who you know are going to go somewhere."
Good as they are, they might arrive to find Plucinski already there.
PLUCINSKI CONTINUES SUCCESS IN NORTHWOODS LEAGUE
June 18, 2003
Muskie ace pitcher Steve Plucinski, one of only two D III players in the prestigious Northwoods League, is proving he belongs and then some. The Duluth Huskies were willing to give the right-hander a shot at competing against some of the best college baseball players in the country based on the recommendation of Lakeland Head Baseball Coach John Weber. The Huskies arent second guessing their decision to sign Plucinski now.
Plucinskis first appearance came in relief against the tough Wisconsin Woodchucks in Wausau, WI with over 2,000 fans in attendance. Plucinski quited the home crowd by pitching 4 innings while allowing just 1 run with 6 strike outs as he picked up the save. The performance found Plucinski inserted into the Huskies starting rotation just 3 days later when he took the mound against the Alexander Beetles in Duluth's home opener. Plucinski was up to the challenge again as he pitched 7 shutout innings with 5 strike outs to pick up his first win for the Huskies in front of 1,800 fans.
Plucinskis biggest test so far came this past Friday the 13th against the first place Madison Mallards in Madison. It was an exciting night for Plucinski, because he had family members, Lakeland coaches, and Lakeland alumni in the stands. Adding extra incentive for Plucinski to pitch well was the fact that the Madison Mallards would not sign the DIII 2002 All-American.
Plucinski would not disappoint his friends and family in attendance as he threw 8 shutout innings with 11 strike outs against the Mallards. Sophomore Fernie Rodriguez of El Paso Community College came on to close the game for Plucinski. Unfortunately, Rodriguez allowed 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning blowing the save opportunity and the win for Plucinski, as the Huskies fell 3-2.
Plucinski is currently ranked 2nd in the Northwoods League with a 0.47 ERA. He trails only Ben Stanczyk of the La Crosse Loggers, WI (Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee). In 19 innings pitched Plucinski is 1-0 with a save and has allowed only 1 earned run while racking up 22 strike outs against just 3 walks.
The Duluth Huskies have a 5-10 record and are 5 games out of first place in the North Division. Plucinskis next start is scheduled for June 19th in St. Cloud, MN against the Riverbats, game time 7:05pm.
PLUCINSKI NOT JUST ANOTHER "FACE IN THE
CROWD" - MUSKIE PITCHER APPEARS IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
June 11, 2003
Lakeland College sophomore pitcher Steve Plucinski (Mundelein, IL) had a day to remember on April 29 when he struck out 22 batters in the Muskies' 6-0 victory over Edgewood College.
Not only did he tie the NCAA Division III record for strikeouts in a game, but he also helped Lakeland clinch its third straight Lake Michigan Conference championship with the win.
All in a days work for the All-American pitcher.
But little did he know that his performance would land him a spot in Sports Illustrated magazine (circulation of 3.15 million) in the popular "Faces in the Crowd" section. Plucinski is one of seven athletes featured in the June 16 issue, which is mailed to subscribers and available on newsstands this week.
The section features standout athletic performances from all over the country, and SI chooses from about 1,000 recommendations each week.
"It's pretty wild," Plucinski said. "It could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to be in Sports Illustrated, I hardly know what to say. It was just one of those days where everything was working and I could put it where I wanted to with any pitch.
Plucinski was being a little modest, said Lakeland Head Baseball Coach John Weber, as his fastball was clocked at 92 mph on that memorable day.
Plucinski was nominated by Weber and Lakeland Director of Communications David Gallianetti.
Gallianetti got a phone call from SI that "Plu," as everyone knows him, was getting serious consideration for his phenomenal effort, but it would help if they had a picture. Gallianetti e-mailed them a picture within 10 minutes.
"It's really a neat way to commemorate a remarkable performance," said Weber. "As I said at the time, it truly was the best college pitching performance I have witnessed in my nine years of coaching. To get it mentioned in Sports Illustrated, the premier sports magazine in the country, is a great thing for Steve and for Lakeland College."
"He's a great guy to be around and a tremendously hard worker. I've coached eight pitchers that have played in the pros and I believe he has the most potential of all of them."
Weber notified Steve's mom Sharon about the selection, who was thrilled. Sharon quickly located her son's picture up on SI's website, and called her husband Dave at work. Dave is a postal carrier - and since it was SI delivery day, he had several hundred magazines to choose from to find the feature!
The family was going to wait and surprise Steve on Friday when they watch him pitch in Madison. Steve is pitching this summer for the Duluth Huskies, a team in the prestigious collegiate Northwoods League.
But Steve's parents decided to call him right away, hoping they would be the first to break the news. Their timing was perfect, since after Steve hung up with his dad, several of his teammates, who discovered the item when their copy of SI arrived in their mailbox, started calling him on his cell phone.
"It's just cool to play at Lakeland and have such great teammates and coaches," added Plucinski. "It was awesome to see how excited everyone was that day I'll never forget it. And now to add this - I am truly honored."
Only eight times in the history of NCAA baseball at any level has a player
struck out 22 or more batters. It has happened three times in Division
III, never in Division II and only five times in Division I.
WEBER BECOMES ALL-TIME WINNINGEST BASEBALL
COACH AT LAKELAND
June 11, 2003
Fifth year head baseball coach John Weber recently became the all-time winningest coach in the history of Lakeland College Baseball. With 27 wins this season Weber now has 125 wins in five seasons, three more than his predecessor Dave Moyer accumulated in seven seasons.
Weber joins a strong young coaching staff at Lakeland that already has the most wins in their sport. This includes April Arvan for women's basketball, Chad Schreiber for women's volleyball and Marc Colwell for women's soccer. Long time veterans of the staff that have led their sports to the most wins include Bill Kuchler for men's golf and Reverend David Lauer for men's tennis.
"It's a great honor to join this great group of coaches in this achievement," said Weber. "We all realize it's a reflection of a total team effort from the Athletic Department, the Admissions Office, the Financial Aid Office, the Registrar's Office and countless others in the Lakeland Community."
Weber took over a program that had never won more than 22 games or made a post season NCAA Tournament appearance. During his tenure, Weber has averaged 25 wins per season and led the Muskies to two straight NCAA Tournaments, including a fifth place finish at the 2002 Division III College World Series. The Muskies became the smallest college ever to make a World Series appearance with an enrollment of 715 at the time.
Weber has also led the Muskies to three straight Lake Michigan Conference titles after a drought of 15 years. Lakeland Baseball hadn't won a regular season title since 1986.
In the past three seasons the Muskies have been nationally ranked in the top 30 in the country and have been regionally ranked the past four seasons. In 2002 Lakeland finished as the Midwest Regional Champions with a final ranking of 8th in the nation and 1st in the region.
Weber's first team in 1999 finished 15-24 after he started in the fall without a recruiting class. He followed that up with a 24-21 record in 2000, a 25-18 mark in 2001, a 34-16-1 record in 2002, and this year's 27-16 finish.
Weber attributes much of his team's success to his willingness to play strong competition. In his tenure, the Muskies have played and defeated several nationally ranked Division II and III teams. Lakeland has also played seven Division I games during his five years as well.
"I have personal professional goals that I set for myself that I don't share with the team," said Weber. "This was a record I wanted to attain in five years, but I didn't know if it was possible with the hard schedule we play. Besides, my goals are secondary to all the team goals - conference championships, regional championships, and World Series appearances. But I think it's important as a coach to have certain bench marks to measure up to, just as I ask my players to do."
"I've never put too much stock into winning percentages, I always look at strength of schedule," said Weber. "Who really cares if you beat poor teams? We want to compete against the best and have a chance to not only make the post season, but be successful as well. Furthermore, our opponent has always been ourselves, not the opposing team. We always try to reach our team's potential and execute to our highest level, and the rest will take care of itself."
The 32-year-old coach attributes much of his success to his coaching staffs, both current and past. In fact, three of Weber's former assistants are now head college coaches.
"The three coaches that have moved onto head coaching positions speaks for itself," said Weber, referring to Damon Day (Dana College in Nebraska), Jason Bartelt (Marian College in Fond du Lac, WI), and Marc Marizzaldi (Seton Hill College in Pennsylvania). "If there's one area where I've truly been blessed it's in choosing, working with and developing a quality staff. I'm also proud that all three that have moved on have been very successful in their current positions."
"I'm also fortunate to have who I consider the best assistant coach since I've been here in current assistant John Govek," said Weber. "He's hard working, knowledgeable, and the players really respect and like him."
Govek was one of the players Weber inherited when he took over the program and has witnessed the rapid turnaround. He has now been affiliated with Lakeland as a student-athlete or coach for nearly eight years.
"The quick turnaround of this program was really amazing...we went from nothing to respectability in just one year," said Govek. "This program has improved by leaps and bounds under Coach Weber and now everyone in Division III baseball and the state knows who we are."
As for the players, Weber can't say enough.
"You could feel it so bad when I got here that these players wanted to win and were desperate for leadership," said Weber.
The players also liked the fact that Weber had played in two Division II College World Series, and coached teams into the post season two of the three years he was an assistant coach.
"The biggest challenge was the mental hurdle because they didn't believe they could compete, especially with bigger schools or the state schools," said Weber.
Now Lakeland has beaten every state school it has played since Weber's arrival.
"Our biggest win came early in my second year when we defeated UW-Oshkosh who was ranked third in the country at the time. After we won the guys acted like it was the World Series. But just like that we had cleared the mental hurdle and they knew we belonged. In fact we beat UW-Parkside, a nationally ranked Division II team in the same week. Now, some teams act like they've won the World Series when they beat us."
The talent pool has increased significantly in the past five year's as well. Weber has recruited and coached the program's first All-American and eight of the nine All Region players since Lakeland moved to the NCAA in the early 90's. Weber has also been fortunate to have coached 38 All-Conference players (First Team and Honorable Mention) and three LMC Players of the Year, while being named the LMC Coach of the Year three times himself.
Weber's teams have not only achieved on the ball field, but in the classroom as well. The Muskies have averaged nearly a 3.0 grade point average in the past four seasons.
"There have been so many student-athletes that have worked hard to get this program headed in the right direction," added Weber. "But I'm most proud that this commitment is both on and off the field. Our current players are successful student-athletes and leaders on campus. While many of our graduates have gone on to become successful family men and business leaders."
Weber, known for his relentless work ethic, still gets a kick out of seeing each team develop and take on unique characteristics.
"Each year brings new challenges and I enjoy watching the players and team evolve and improve; it brings personal satisfaction to my position, said Weber. "But what I really like is the love of the game and the love of life that these players have. Despite my graying hair it keeps me young at heart, which is important."
But as he enters his 10th year of coaching at the collegiate level and sixth as the head coach at Lakeland, Weber has also grown to realize the impact he can have on the players. He's had to learn a lot on his own as he spent six of his nine years coaching as a head coach.
After starting as a graduate assistant at Benedictine University in Illinois, Weber was the head coach at Morton Community College in Cicero, IL before moving up to the Associate Head Coach position at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL, a Division II school and his alma mater.
"Over time, I've continued to grow, learn and mature as a person and coach as well," said Weber. "Before, I put on the emphasis only on the baseball aspect of my position. Now I realize the impact I can have on people's lives by providing experiences, leading by example, helping a player with a problem, giving a word of encouragement, dropping a note in the mail, giving a recommendation, or teaching at clinics or camps. I now realize that I'm in a position to positively impact many people's lives, which I really enjoy. At the same time, I don't think they know how much they have positively impacted mine," said Weber.
"I've been fortunate to learn from two of the most successful coaches in the business in Irish O'Reilly at Lewis and John Ostrowski from Benedictine, and they come from two opposite spectrums" said Weber. "But they're not just baseball coaches, their class people who I've been lucky to have been associated with. Yes, they taught me how to run a program in a professional manner, but more importantly they've taught me how to become a better person. They set the example I strive to pass on to my players."
With Arvan, Schreiber, Colwell and Weber leading the way, it appears
the Muskie Athletics Department is setting an example for years to come.
PLUCINSKI, RUSSELL AND HANSEN NAMED TO BASEBALL'S
June 5, 2003
After another successful season the Lakeland College Muskies are reaping the individual benefits. Three Muskies were recently named to the Midwest All-Region team, marking the second straight year Lakeland placed three on the team. Sophomore pitcher Steve Plucinski was named to the First Team for the second straight season, while senior Tadd Russell and sophomore Shane Hansen garnished Third Team honors.
Plucinski, a Third Team All-American last season, had an even bigger year statistically for the Muskies in 2003. A lack of run support saw his record drop to 4-5 after a 9-3 season last year, but otherwise Plucinski improved in every other category. This year he pitched 77.2 innings and struck out a whopping 111 batters while walking just 27. Plucinski allowed just 67 hits and 22 earned runs while also picking up 2 saves.
Last year Plucinski struck out 100 batters and walked 30 in 92.2 innings pitched to lead Lakeland to a fifth place finish at the 2002 College World Series and a 34-16-1 mark. This year the Muskies finished 27-16 and made their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance after winning their third straight Lake Michigan conference title.
By being named to the First Team, Plucinski was automatically nominated for All-American this year too. However due to his record he fell short despite the better numbers, even though two of his losses came against Division I opponents.
Russell made the Third Team as an outfielder after having a standout season handling the cleanup spot for the Muskies. Russell hit .340 with 4 HR's, 42 RBI, 9 doubles, and 33 runs scored. He was 49 for 144 on the season and also swiped 10 bases in 11 attempts while walking 15 times. Russell was a fifth year senior who made the transition from third base to outfield this season look easy. He was known for his clutch hitting throughout the season.
Hansen also made the Third Team at third base after transferring in from Ripon College in the fall. Hansen hit .364 with 5 HR's and 33 RBI's while knocking out an impressive 17 doubles. He was 51 for 140 on the season and added 38 runs scored, 13 walks and 6 stolen bases. Hansen is known for his quick left-handed bat and his ability to hit to all fields.
MUSKIE BASEBALL DOMINATES ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM;
PLUCINSKI PLAYER OF YEAR
June 4, 2003
The Lakeland College Muskie Baseball Team recently completed another standout season that saw them finish 27-16 overall and 15-3 in Lake Michigan Conference play. The Muskies also made their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and won their third straight conference title. The 27 wins were the second most in school history (behind last year's 34 wins) and the three straight LMC titles are even more impressive considering the Muskies hadn't won a title since 1986.
Lake Michigan Conference honors were recently announced and several Muskies were selected to various teams. Five members of the team were named First Team All-LMC, three received Honorable Mention status, while Steve Plucinski earned the Player of the Year award and John Weber earned his third straight Coach of the Year award. All honors were based on conference statistics only.
Sophomore pitcher Steve Plucinski (Mundelein, IL) earned Player of the Year honors and First Team All-LMC as he dominated the Lake Michigan Conference this season. Plucinski finished with a 3-1 LMC record with a 0.22 ERA in 41 innings pitched. He struck out a staggering 63 batters while allowing just 10 walks. Plucinski allowed just 1 earned run in five appearances (4 starts), while holding hitters to a .152 batting average. The highlight of Plucinskis season came against Edgewood College as he tied an NCAA, DIII record by striking out 22 batters in a game. He also struck out 19 batters in the Conference Tournament verses Marian College later in the season.
Other First Team members include: third basebman Shane Hansen (so. Ripon, WI), outfielders Mike Stoeckigt (sr. Cleveland, WI) and Tadd Russell (sr. Menominee, MI), and pitcher Ryan Govek (sr. Wausau, WI).
Honorable Mention awards went to catcher Justin Wolter (sr. Kaukauna, WI), pitcher Ryan Urban (jr. Palatine, IL), and outfielder Ryan Govek (sr. Wausau, WI).
Hansen led the LMC with a .541 batting average while racking up 33 hits in conference with 10 doubles, 3 home runs, 18 RBIs and a huge .852 slugging percentage. His highlight for the season came against Edgewood College as he ripped 9 consecutive hits in a doubleheader.
Stoeckigt played a solid centerfield for four years with the Muskies and is arguably the LMC's fastest man. Stoeckigt was 15 for 18 in conference stolen bases and hit .386 with 5 doubles, a triple, a home run, and 16 RBIs. He finished his career as the All-Time stolen base leader at Lakeland with 74, 2nd all-time in runs scored with 118, and 2nd all-time in triples with 9. This is Stoeckigt's second straight year of recognition as he was Honorable Mention last season.
Russell made a quick adjustment moving from 3rd base to the outfield and also handled clean-up duties for the Muskies this year. Russell batted .397 in conference with 23 hits, 6 doubles, 2 home runs, and 22 RBIs. The fifth year senior finished a strong career with the third best RBI total in a season for Lakeland with 42. Russell, an excellent athlete, made the transition from the mound to the field during his junior year after a summer arm injury halted his pitching career. Despite not pitching his final two seasons, he finished 2nd all-time in career saves at Lakeland with 5.
Govek received 1st Team All-LMC honors for the Muskiesas as a pitcher and Honorable Mention status as an outfielder in his first and last year in the LMC. Govek transferred to Lakeland from Division I Southeast Missouri State for his senior year. Govek finished with a 3-1 record and a 2.15 ERA in 25 innings pitched. He struck out 25 and didnt allow an extra base hit in conference play. Govek also tossed the second no-hitter in Muskies history against Concordia, WI in April while striking out 10. As an outfielder Govek hit .367 in conference with 22 hits, 8 doubles, 2 home runs and 19 RBIs. He tied the season walks record at Lakeland with 29 free passes.
Honorable Mention pitcher Ryan Urban was perfect on the mound for the Muskies finishing with a 4-0 conference record (6-0 on the season). Urban had a 3.33 LMC ERA with 27 innings pitched, 10 earned runs, only 9 walks and 25 strike outs. He only gave up a double as his lone extra base hit in the LMCs regular season.
Honorable Mention catcher Justin Wolter hit .296 in conference with 16 hits, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 8 RBIs, and a .333 on base percentage. Wolter gunned down 8 out of 15 LMC would-be base stealers to shut down opponents running games and was strong behind the dish as a receiver.
For the third straight season John Weber was named LMC Coach of the Year.
In the past three seasons Weber has lead the Muskies to a 41-7 conference
record, 3 LMC Titles, 2 NCAA Tournament Bids, and the programs first NCAA
DIII World Series Appearance. Coach Weber, in only his fifth season, is
Lakelands All-Time wins leader with a 125-95 record and also has
the highest winning percentage at .568.
BASEBALL ELIMINATED FROM PLAY-OFFS; SHATUSKY NAMED ALL-TOURNAMENT
May 19, 2003
The Lakeland College Baseball Team, making their second straight NCAA tournament appearance, ended their season by finishing fourth at the six team Mid-Atlantic Regional in Boyertown, PA. The Muskies finished the 2003 season 27-16 overall (2nd most wins in school history), and won their third straight Lake Michigan Conference championship with a 15-3 mark. Senior Rich Shatusky was the lone Muskie to make the All-Regional Tournament Team.
In the first game Lakeland lost to the host school DeSales University from Pennsylvania, 11-5. A poor defensive start early in the game put the Muskies in an 8 to 3 hole by the 5th inning. Lakelands ace pitcher Steve Plucinski lasted 4.2 innings as he gave up 11 runs (only 4 earned), walked one and struck out 5 batters.
Offensively, seniors Mike Stoeckigt and Rich Shatusky carried the Muskies as they accounted for 5 out of the 9 Lakeland hits. Shatusky had a monster day going 3 for 4, including a double, home run, and two RBIs. He was a triple away from hitting for the cycle. Stoeckigt was 2 for 5 with 3 RBIs. Unfortunately the number three through five hitters for the Muskies were 0 for 11 at the plate.
Moving on to the Losers bracket the Muskies faced number one seed Rowan University from New Jersey. Lakeland bounced back with a hard fought 3-2 victory in 10 innings behind another great pitching performance by junior Ryan Urban.
The game would remain scoreless until the fourth inning when Lakeland loaded the bases with no one out. Senior Aaron Gustman grounded into a double play scoring Shane Hansen from third. With two outs senior Justin Wolter ripped a single to centerfield scoring senior Tadd Russell for the Muskies second run of the inning.
Rowan would battle back and score one in the sixth inning and one in the eight inning, tying the game at 2 to 2. Urban pitched an outstanding 7 2/3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits while striking out 7 batters. Urban would not figure in the decision and he finished the season with a perfect 6-0 record.
The Muskies won the game in the bottom of the tenth inning. Sophomore
Gabe Vollmer got things going for the Muskies with a lead off double.
Senior Mike Stoeckigt reached on a fielders choice as Rowan was
unable to get Vollmer out moving to third base on the bunt attempt. With
runners at first and third, sophomore Steve Plucinski was intentionally
walk to load the bases for sophomore Shane Hansen. Hansen drilled a high
fly ball to left, which proved to be deep enough for Vollmer to tag up
and score the winning run.
Senior Ryan Govek moved his record to 6-3 by picking up the win in relief of Urban. Govek held Rowan scoreless for 2 1/3 innings with three strike outs. The Muskies gave Rowan pitcher Tom McCullen (6-1 record) his first loss of the season.
Lakeland was eliminated by Otterbein College of Ohio, 6-3 to end their excellent season. Unfortunately, for senior pitcher Eric Spies the defensive struggles continued for the Muskies. Spies gave up 6 unearned runs on only two hits as he did not make it out of the first inning. Junior Dan Rauwerdink was able to stop the bleeding pitching 7 2/3 scoreless innings. Rauwerdink turned the ball over to Govek in the ninth inning with two on and nobody out and Govek put the Otterbein hitters down in order.
The Muskies trailed 6 to 2 heading into the bottom of the ninth. Justin Wolter scored in a Gabe Vollmer ground out, making it 6 to 3. Mike Stoeckigt and Steve Plucinski both walked with two outs as they set the table for Shane Hansen, Lakeland's number three hitter. Hansen was the hitter the Muskies wanted to get up with runners on and the game on the line and had already ripped a double earlier in the game. He got his pitch and hit a hard line drive at the Otterbein centerfielder ending the Muskies hopes of a second straight World Series appearance in Appleton.
All season the Muskies relied on good pitching and a strong defense, but the defensive part of the equation fell apart in the regional. Officially the Muskie pitching staff gave up only 6 earned runs in the tournament. The Lakeland defense made 14 very costly errors, which allowed 13 unearned runs to score as the Muskies were eliminated from the NCAA tournament.
DeSales University was the Mid-Atlantic Champions and moved on to the DIII College World Series in Appleton, WI.
A bright spot came for the Muskies when senior Rich Shatusky was named
to the All Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament Team as the designed hitter.
Shatusky had an outstanding tournament at the plate for Lakeland. He went
5 for 10, while scoring 3 runs with 2 RBIs on 2 doubles and a home
LAKELAND BASEBALL HEADS EAST FOR
May 13, 2003
The NCAA Division III World Series will be played once again this year at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton.
But if the Lakeland College baseball team hopes to make its second straight World Series appearance, it has a long road to travel - literally.
The NCAA is shipping the Muskies out east to Boyerstown, Pa., where Lakeland is the No. 4 seed in the Mid-Atlantic Regional, hosted by DeSales University.
Lakeland will open regional play Thursday at 7 p.m. against the hosts, third-seeded DeSales (26-11), the winner of the Freedom Conference of the Middle Atlantic Corporation and ranked No. 21 in the nation. Lakeland is receiving votes in the national poll, and is ranked fifth in the Midwest Region.
The winner of that game plays Friday at 7 p.m., while the loser plays Friday at 3 p.m. in the double-elimination tournament.
There are eight NCAA regionals across the country with a total of 42 teams. Lakeland is one of six schools from Wisconsin in the field, joining Ripon, Carthage, St. Norbert, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Whitewater.
The winners of the eight regionals advance to the Division III World Series, set for May 23-27 at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton.
Rowan University (29-8), winner of the New Jersey Athletic Conference and ranked No. 6 in the country, received the top seed in the Mid-Atlantic Regional and will face sixth seeded Otterbein College (22-22) of the Ohio Athletic Conference in the first game on Thursday.
Second-seeded Johns Hopkins (32-5), who won the Centennial Conference Tournament and is ranked No. 8 in the country, will open play against No. 5 seed Alvernia College (27-9) of the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference.
Although the four-team Midwest Regional is being played at nearby UW-Oshkosh, Lakeland coach John Weber said the Muskies don't mind making the trip out east.
"It's just another challenge for us," Weber said. "I wish we could have stayed local for our fans and the families of our players. It doesn't change our goal, which is to make our second straight World Series appearance. We're happy to have the chance to do that."
Lakeland won the Midwest Regional a year ago, and finished fifth in the school's first-ever World Series appearance.
Lakeland rolls into the regional having won 17 of its last 21 games. Three of the four losses were to NCAA Division I schools.
"We have benchmarks to judge where we're at during certain points of the year," Weber said. "It's amazing how closely this season has unfolded when you compare it to last spring - it's nearly identical. Our record at this point is nearly the same, although we've played what I feel is a tougher schedule this year.
"Our pitching is very strong right now. Our defense is very strong. We've just got to pick up the sticks a bit and we'll be right where we need to be."
The Muskies should be well rested headed into the regional, having won the Lake Michigan Conference tournament this past weekend in just three games - the minimum needed to claim the title.
But Weber is especially pleased that Lakeland got complete games from starting pitchers Steve Plucinski (sophomore, Mundelein, Ill.), Ryan Govek (senior, Wausau, Wis.) and Ryan Urban (junior, Palatine, Ill.)
Plucinski, a third team All-American a year ago, is 4-4 this season with a 2.22 earned run average and 106 strikeouts and 26 walks in 73 innings.
Plucinski tied an NCAA Division III record on April 29 by striking out 22 batters in a 6-0 victory over Edgewood College. He struck out 19 in a win over rival Marian College in this past weekend's LMC Tournament.
Govek, a transfer from Division I Southeast Missouri State, is 5-3 with a 4.08 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 46 innings. Govek, whose older brother, John, is Lakeland's pitching coach, threw the second no-hitter in school history earlier this spring.
Urban, who has four complete games in seven starts, is 6-0 with a 2.23 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 48 innings.
The offense is led by sophomore infielder Shane Hansen (Ripon, Wis.), senior infielder Tadd Russell (Menominee, Mich.) and senior outfielder Mike Stoeckigt (Cleveland, Wis.)
Hansen is hitting .386 with a team-best 49 hits including 16 doubles and 31 runs batted in. Russell is hitting .356 with a team-leading 42 RBI. Stoeckigt is hitting .325 and has stolen 24 bases in 27 attempts. Govek is hitting .299 with 30 RBI.
Little slugger: Adding to the drama of Lakeland's return to the NCAA Tournament is the impending birth of John and Erin Weber's first baby.
Erin's due date is May 22, but Lakeland's coach said the family doctor has indicated the baby might arrive early. Weber has an open airline ticket for the trip in Pennsylvania, giving him the option of hopping on the next available flight to get home and be by the side of his new family.
John and Erin got a phone call at 1:30 a.m. Monday morning from some of John's players with the news that they were headed out east. Erin was not thrilled.
"It is a hairy situation," Weber said. "She wants me to go. If I have to leave, I have all the confidence in the world in (Lakeland assistant coaches) John Govek and Chris Thousand. It's more important for our players to be there than me anyway."
Past experience: Lakeland faced Johns Hopkins in the second game of the
season on its annual trip to Ft. Myers, Fla. The Muskies were no-hit by
senior pitcher Jeremy Brown in a 9-0 loss, which earned Brown a mention
in Sports Illustrated.
PLUCINSKI AND GOVEK SHARE LMC BASEBALL PITCHER
OF WEEK HONORS
May 12, 2003
Lakeland's Steve Plucinski and Ryan Govek were named Lake Michigan Conference Co-Pitchers of the Week. Plucinski, a sophomore from Mundelein High School (Illinois), struck out 23 batters in 11 innings pitched, including 19 verses Marian College in the LMC Tournament. Govek, a senior from Wausau East High School, struck out 13 batters and had 0 earned runs in 11 innings pitched, including a 10 strikeout, 4 hit performance verses Edgewood college in the LMC Tournament.
The Muskies won the LMC Tournament by defeating Marian 4-1 in the championship game behind a strong pitching performance by junior Ryan Urban. Urban allowed just 3 hits and struck out 10 in a complete game effort.
MUSKIES WIN 2ND STRAIGHT LMC TOURNEY TITLE;
EARN 2ND STRAIGHT NCAA BID
May 12, 2003
Three complete games from Lakelands pitching staff led the Muskies to their second straight LMC Tournament title. With the title Lakeland will also receive their second straight automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Muskies however, will not have a chance to defend their Midwest title from last season as they ihave been shipped to Boyertown, Pennsylvania for the Mid-Atlantic Regional hosted by DeSales University.
In the first game of the tournament the Muskies defeated Edgewood College 4-0 behind the strong pitching performance of Ryan Govek. Govek struck out 10 Eagle batters, while only allowing 4 hits in the complete game shutout. Offensively, Justin Wolter lead the way going 2-4 with an RBI.
In the second game the Muskies edged by Marian College 4-3. Rich Shatusky swung a big stick for Lakeland as Shatusky blasted a two-run home run giving the Muskies a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning. The one run lead proved enough for pitcher, Steve Plucinski, as he struck out a whopping 19 Sabre hitters and allowed just seven hits in the Muskies second complete game of the tournament.
Lakeland and Marian met again in the championship round of the tournament to decide who would move to the NCAA tournament. Marian had to beat Lakeland twice as they came out of the loser's bracket by defeating Edgewood College 5-2 earlier in the day. The Sabres jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a 5th inning solo home run by Kurt Miller. The Muskies answered back on a 6th inning two out single by Tadd Russell to even the score. In the bottom of the 8th inning, Russell would deliver again with the fatal blow when he drilled a fastball over the left field fence for a three-run home run giving the Muskies a 4-1 lead.
Junior Ryan Urban was lights out for the Muskies on the mound, striking out 10 Sabre batters and allowing only three hits for the Muskies third complete game of the tournament.
The Muskies pitching staff was dominant as they combined for 3 complete games, 39 strike outs, allowed only 14 hits, and only gave up 4 runs.
It was an impressive performance turned in by our pitching staff this weekend," said pitching coach John Govek. "All three are very special pitchers and very different in style, which makes for a great combination.
Lakeland will play DeSales University the host school in the first game of the regional Thursday night at 7:00pm.
PLUCINSKI NAMED PITCHER OF WEEK
FOR 22 STRIKEOUT EFFORT
May 6, 2003
As expected, Lakeland's Steve Plucinski was named the Lake Michigan Conference Pitcher of the Week. The sophomore from Mundelein High School (Illinois) tied an NCAA Division III record by striking out 22 batters verses Edgewood College last Tuesday. He allowed just one hit and walked one in the complete game performance. He faced just one batter over the minimum and allowed just one runner to reach second base.
Plucinski also had a save verses Carroll College on Sunday, April 27th by throwing two scoreless innings in Lakeland's 13-11 win, and had another save verses MSOE by throwing a scoreless inning in Lakeland's 5-4 win on Saturday, May 3rd. The Muskies enter LMC Tournament play as the number one seed following their third straight LMC regular season title.
2003 LMC BASEBALL TOURNAMENT
Tuesday, May 6 @ Higher Seed
#1 Lakeland - bye
#2 Marian vs. #7 Maranatha (7:30pm)
#3 WI Lutheran vs. #6 Edgewood (7:00pm)
#4 Concordia vs. #5 MSOE (Time TBA)
PLUCINSKI K'S 22; TIES NCAA RECORD IN CONFERENCE
April 29, 2003
Sophomore pitcher Steve Plucinski tied an NCAA Division III mark by striking out 22 batters in Lakeland's 6-0 victory over Edgewood College Tuesday afternoon in Sheboygan. With the win, the Muskies clinched their third straight Lake Michigan Conference championship by improving to 21-12 overall and 13-2 in the LMC. Edgewood dropped to 12-24 and 6-9.
Plucinski's feat tied the mark that has only happened twice in Division III baseball history. Scott Alexander from Salve Regina did it on April 3, 2001 verses Anna Maria College, and David Baumann of Western New England did it on April 11th 1988 verses Curry College. No one has ever struck out more than 21 batters in a Division II game, and only 5 pitchers have struck out more than 22 at the Division I level.
Plucinski, a third-team All-American last season, gave up just one hit and faced just one batter over the minimum as he threw his second shutout of the year. Ironically, his first shutout was also verses Edgewood when Plucinski allowed just 4 hits and struck out 10 in Lakeland's 4-0 victory on April 15th. Dating back to last season he has shutout Edgewood three straight games. He moved his mark to 3-3 with a miniscule 1.62 ERA.
Plucinski struck out every Eagle batter at least twice with the exception of Ryan Klemko, who struck out once. Five players struck out 3 times and three players struck out twice. Plucinski ended the game by striking out the last 9 batters and 12 of the last 13.
The Muskie offense continued its torrid streak by banging out 14 hits, but also left 13 men on base. Lakeland had single runs in the first, third, fourth, and sixth innings, and plated two in the second. Senior Tadd Russell had 3 hits and 2 RBI, while sophomore Gabe Vollmer also had 3 hits and an RBI. Senior Mike Stoeckigt had two hits and two RBI's while fellow senior Rich Shatusky had two hits as well. Every player had a hit for Lakeland with the exception of Shane Hansen.
"It was truly the best pitching performance that I've witnessed in my nine years of coaching and my four as a college ballplayer," said 5th year head coach John Weber. "He was truly overpowering and he had command of all his pitches. Edgewood is an excellent program and I'm proud of Steve for his achievement and proud of the team overall for their achievement."
Lakeland is currently ranked 5th in the Midwest Region and is receiving
votes in the national poll. The third straight conference title marked
the first championships for the program since 1986. The 21 wins marked
the first time in school history that the program has won 20 or more games
in 4 straight seasons. Last year the Muskies finished 5th in the nation
at 34-16-1 after becoming the smallest college ever to make the Division
III College World Series with an enrollment of 715 at the time.
BASEBALL RANKED 5TH IN MIDWEST REGION
April 29, 2003
Beware of the Muskies. The Lakeland College Baseball Team is getting hot at the right time once again and are looking to make more noise in the upcoming postseason. Lakeland (20-12), who recently clinched at least a share of their third straight Lake Michigan Conference Championship after not having won it since 1986, moved to fifth in the latest Midwest Regional rankings. The Muskies are also receiving votes at the national level as they look to break back into the Top 30.
In the Midwest Region, generally considered to be the strongest in the country, Lakeland is behind only Ripon (23-2), UW-Oshkosh (27-2), St. Thomas of Minnesota (23-7-1), and UW-Whitewater (23-4). The Muskies are ranked ahead of UW-Stevens-Point (23-8-1), Concordia of Minnesota (21-12), and St. Olaf of Minnesota (19-12).
The Muskies started the year ranked 17th in the country but got off to their traditionally slow start at 7-9. But they have won 13 of their last 16 games with two of the losses coming to Division I opponents.
Lakeland is known for playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation and this year is no exception. From the latest poll the Muskies have played the #6 (John Hopkins), the #8 (UW-Oshkosh), the #13 (College of Wooster), and the #15 (Augustana) teams in the country. They have also played two other teams that have received votes to be nationally ranked (Denison and Ohio Wesleyan). To cap it off, the Muskies have played two Division I opponents that are fighting for their own conference titles in Northern Illinois and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"We like to challenge ourselves and prepare our team for the post season," said fifth year head coach John Weber. "Who cares if you beat weaker teams just to boost your winning percentage? Aren't you supposed to beat them? We like to recruit young men who want to play the best."
Lakeland's next game is this Tuesday when they host Edgewood College in a LMC match-up at 3pm.
HANSEN AND PLUCINSKI NAMED LMC BASEBALL PLAYERS
OF THE WEEK
April 22, 2003
Lakeland College's Shane Hansen and Wisconsin Lutheran College's Tim Rennicke were named Lake Michigan Conference Co-Hitters of the Week.
Hansen, a sophomore third baseman from Ripon High School, hit 16-for-22 (.727) in five games this past week. He had 8 RBI's, 6 doubles, 2 homeruns, and 2 stolen bases. This is Hansen's second LMC Hitter of the Week honor this season. The Muskies (15-10, 9-2 LMC) went 5-0 last week and have won 6 games in a row.
Rennicke, a sophomore second baseman/pitcher from Mequon Homestead High School, hit 4-for-7 (.571) in a pair of LMC games versus MSOE. He had a two-run homer and 3 RBI's in an 8-5 win where he also pitched a complete game. The Warriors (6-14, 5-3 LMC) are currently in second place in the LMC.
Lakeland's Steve Plucinski, a sophomore from Mundelein High School (Illinois), was named Lake Michigan Conference Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season. He threw a complete game 4-hitter versus Edgewood last Tuesday night. Plucinski struck out 10 and walked only 2 in the 4-0 shutout victory. He currently has a 15 inning scoreless streak.
LMC Baseball Standings
Lakeland 9-2 15-10
Wisconsin Lutheran 5-3 6-14
MSOE 7-5 11-15
Edgewood 5-6 11-19
Marian 4-5 7-14
Concordia 4-6 7-13
Maranatha Baptist 0-7 0-9
GOVEK NAMED LMC PITCHER OF THE WEEK
April 15, 2003
Ryan Govek of Lakeland College was named Lake Michigan Conference Pitcher of the Week. The senior from Wausau East High School threw a no-hitter versus Concordia University on April 12th in a 7-inning game. Govek struck out 10 and walked 5 in the game. He allowed just one runner to reach second base, and didn't have one ball reach the outfield. This is the second no-hitter in Lakeland history, the last was in 1995. Lakeland is 10-10 overall and is tied a top the LMC with Wisconsin Lutheran College, both holding 4-2 records.
LMC Baseball Standings (LMC/OVERALL)
Lakeland 4-2 10-10
Wisconsin Lutheran 4-2 5-13
Edgewood 5-4 11-15
Marian 4-4 7-11
MSOE 4-4 8-14
Concordia 2-5 5-12
Maranatha Baptist 0-2 0-4
MUSKIE PITCHER THROWS SECOND NO-HITTER IN SCHOOL
April 12, 2003
Muskies Senior Ryan Govek pitched his way into the Lakeland College record books with only the second no-hitter in the program's history. Govek defeated Concordia University of Mequon, 3-0 in a Lake Michigan Conference game Saturday afternoon in Sheboygan.
Govek struck out 10 and walked five Falcon hitters. He allowed only one base runner to reach second base and didn't allow a batted ball out of the infield. Needless to say the Lakeland outfielders had a slow day, as Govek threw the Muskies first no-hitter since 1995.
The final out was a popped up bunt attempt caught by a diving Govek, as he collided with the first baseman. The first and last pitches of the game were recorded at 88 miles per hour by the team's manager.
The pitching coach and Ryan's older brother John said, "I was impressed he was able to hold his velocity all game in the cold weather. That was a special day for the whole family, because our parents and other brother Rob were able to attend the game. It got pretty emotional as Ryan gave the game ball to our parents."
Govek is now 3-2 on the year with an impressive 2.45 ERA and has 24 strikeouts
in 22 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting just .185 against the hard-throwing
right hander and have managed just one extra base hit. Govek has appeared
in 6 games and has started 3 of them.
WOLTER NAMED LMC CO-HITTER
OF THE WEEK
April 8, 2003
Lakeland College's Justin Wolter and Edgewood College's Travis Krahn were named Lake Michigan Conference Baseball Co-Hitters of the Week.
Wolter, a senior catcher from Kaukauna High School (Wisconsin), was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate in a second game of a doubleheader versus Marian College. He also had a three-run homer, three RBIs and one stolen base in the game. The Muskies are a game-and-one-half back of first.
Krahn, a junior infielder from Rochester Mayo High School (Minnesota), went 11-for-14 (.786) at the plate where six of his eleven hits were doubles. He also scored five runs, had eight RBIs and one stolen base last week. The Eagles went 2-1 last week, and are currently 3-1 in the LMC, tied for first with Wisconsin Lutheran College.
MUSKIES SWEEP LMC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK HONORS
April 1, 2003
Lakeland College's Shane Hansen was named Lake Michigan Conference Baseball Hitter of the Week. The sophomore infielder from Ripon High School (Wisconsin) went 2-4 at the plate for a .500 batting average in the Muskies' first LMC game of the season. Hansen also had an RBI and scored three runs in the 8-7 loss to Marian College.
Muskie teammate Steve Plucinski, a sophomore from Mundelein, Illinois, was named Lake Michigan Conference Pitcher of the Week. He pitched 7 1/3 innings allowing only six hits and one earned run. Plucinski walked only two batters and struck out 12 in the 10 inning game.
LAKELAND BLOWS SIX RUN LEAD IN LMC OPENER
March 26, 2003
Lakeland opened Lake Michigan Conference play at home with an 8-7 loss in 10 innings, Wednesday afternoon against the Marian Sabres. The Muskies fell to 5-6 overall and 0-1 in the LMC, as Marian improved to 4-5 and 1-0.
Offensively the Muskies started hot as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead through the first four innings, but could only manage one run in the final six innings. Ryan Govek led the attack with 3 hits, while Ryan Urban, Shane Hansen, and Rich Shatusky all added 2 hits of their own. Mike Stoeckigt also chipped in with a double driving in two runs.
The Muskies wasted a great start on the mound from Steve Plucinski, who pitched 7.1 innings, giving up 6 hits, striking out 12 batters, while only allowing 1 earned run. Overall the Lakeland pitching was good as the Muskies struck out 14 Marian batters and allowed just 2 earned runs.
The Sabres capitalized on five Lakeland errors as Marian battled back to tie the game in the top of the 9th inning, 7-7. With one out in the 10th inning, Dan Wilson beat out a drag bunt as Muskies relief pitcher Ryan Govek fell down attempting to field the ball. Wilson stole second base and advanced to third on a Jared Sturtz ground out to the first baseman. Wilson scored the winning run on a two out error by the Muskies third baseman, which completed the come back victory for the Sabres.
Lakeland's next contest is scheduled for Friday at 1:00pm in Fond du Lac, as the Muskies will take on Sabres again in a doubleheader.
2003 PREVIEW: BASEBALL LOOKS TO KEEP WINNING
WAYS; RANKED 17TH IN NATION
March 5, 2003
By Justin Wolter and John Weber
With 10 seniors and a deep pitching staff, the Lakeland College Muskies have high expectations heading into the 2003 season. The Muskies start the year ranked 17th in the nation in the preseason poll, after finishing 5th in the nation in 2002 and becoming the smallest college ever to make a Division III College World Series appearance.
"We need to take it one pitch and one play at a time," said 5th year head coach John Weber. "I'm more concerned about the whole process and the work we put in first, then we'll see where that takes us."
In the field, Lakeland needs to replace several standout performers from 2002. The departure of first baseman/designated hitter Chris Thousand (new grad assistant), catcher Matt Frelich, outfielders Bo Heinemeyer (RF) and Vance Henning (LF), and shortstop Jim Kluck will be hard to replace, along with key reserves Kevin Oimoen and Isaac Hart. On the hill the Muskies need to replace veteran workhorses Thousand, Heinemeyer, P.J. Weber and Lance Ratcliff. But Weber is confident he has the players that can step right in without missing a beat.
On the mound Lakeland will bring back the LMC 2002 Rookie of the Year as well as D3 Third Team All-American Steve Plucinski. A 2003 pre-season All-American, Plucinski will look to better his outstanding stats of 9-3 with 100 strikeouts last season. This year Plucinski will be challenged as the hardest thrower on the staff as he is joined by D1 transfer Ryan Govek (sr., Southeast Missouri St.). Each have hit the gun at over 90mph, but also possess strong second and third pitches as well.
Other returning starters vying for the 3rd, 4th and 5th starter spots will be Eric Spies (sr., 3-1 in 10 appearances), Dan Rauwerdink (jr., 2-1 in 11 appearances), and Jon Aerts (so.). The bullpen looks to include a plethora of newcomers in Junior College transfer's Ryan Urban, and LHP Paul Severino (both from Harper CC in IL), Jon Crowe (Waukesha Tech) Aurora University (IL) transfer Jared Neuman (so.), and Doug Mogensen (fr.).
Three capable receivers will step in behind the dish in seniors Rich Shatusky and Justin Wolter, along with Mike Gappa (so.). All three saw limited action last season when Shatusky hit .278 with 4 RBI, Wolter hit .273 with 1 HR, and Gappa hit .333 in six at bats.
At first base, veteran Aaron Gustman (sr.) will be looked upon to better his .300 average of a year ago, and bring toughness to the team. Gustman also added 5 2B's and 16 RBI in 100 at bats last season.
Plucinski will look to man second base after hitting .328 with 16 double last season, but when "Plu" is on the hill, look for Urban to step in with athletic freshman Mitch Heinemeyer (Bo's nephew) charging hard.
Shortstop presents an opportunity for three players as Jon Binter (so.), Gabe Vollmer (so.), and junior college transfer Mike Bachar are all pushing each other. Bintner played a lot as a freshman at second base hitting .212 in 52 at bats in a defensive specialist role. Look for the extra time in the weight room and his new physique to allow Bintner to become a stronger hitter and make a smooth transition to shortstop. Vollmer is much improved from a year ago after taking a year off to concentrate on soccer, and Bachar brings athleticism and a strong arm to the position.
Third base will feature fifth-year senior Tadd Russell, Steve Goes (sr) and Ripon transfer Shane Hansen (so.) in another area of strength for the Muskies. Russell hit .271 with 11 doubles and 2 HR's last season while Goes hit .222 as a key reserve. Hansen brings a powerful left-handed stick to the lineup and is expected to make immediate contributions.
The outfield will consist of Aerts in LF, Michael Stoeckigt (sr.) in CF, and Govek in RF. Aerts is a promising athlete who had an impressive fall, leading the team in hitting and stolen bases. Stoeckigt, an LMC Honorable Mention selection last season, has speed to burn and showed it by swiping 27 bases in 27 attempts last year. He also has a potentially dangerous bat as he added 4HR's, 5 3B's and 9 2B's last year. Govek is expected to step into the middle of the lineup and add another powerful lefthanded stick. These three should cover as much ground in the outfield as anyone around.
Backups in the outfield will be Matt Thiry (sr.), Paul Daniels (so.), Heinemeyer (fr.), and Tyler Schmitt (fr.). Thiry looks to rebound from shoulder and knee injuries while Daniels is an exciting athlete who looks to contribute in the outfield and on the mound once he heals from a shoulder injury. Heinemeyer and Schmitt look to gain experience while looking to be pillars in the Muskies' future outfield with Daniels.
This year's schedule ranks among the toughest in the nation for the Muskies. They start in Ft Myers, Florida over spring break against No. 22 The John Hopkins U, No. 5 College of Wooster, and No. 12 Ohio Wesleyan. They will also see No. 12 UW-Stevens Point, perennial power UW-Oshkosh, and D1 Horizon league champ U of Illinois-Chicago. The Muskies will be shooting for their third straight regular season LMC title but it won't be easy as Concordia, Edgewood, Marian, MSOE and Wisconsin Lutheran all have strong teams returning.
WEBER SELECTED AS MIDWEST REGIONAL
COACH OF THE YEAR
Dec. 30, 2002
Lakeland College Head Baseball Coach John Weber has been selected the NCAA Midwest Regional Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association. Weber will receive his award at the Hall of Fame Banquet, which honors new inductees in the ABCA Hall of Fame and all Regional and National Coaches of the Year. The ceremony will take place in San Diego, CA on January 3rd at the annual ABCA Convention.
In just his fourth year Weber led the Muskies to their best season in school history with a 34-16-1 record and a 5th (t) place finish at the NCAA Division III World Series in Appleton. In doing so, the Muskies became the smallest college ever to make a NCAA D-III College World Series appearance. The 34 wins also set the school wins record for the third straight year. The Muskies finished the year ranked 8th in the final ABCA poll and 1st in the final Midwest Regional Poll.
Lakeland also won their second straight regular season Lake Michigan Conference Championship, received their first-ever NCAA bid by winning the LMC Tournament Championship, and won their first-ever Midwest Regional Championship, defeating several nationally ranked teams in the process.
Under Weber's guidance the Muskies have been rebuilt into a national contender. Weber took over a down program and improved the Muskies every year from 15-24 in 1998, to 24-21 in 2000, to 25-18 in 2001 and last year's spectacular 34-16-1 finish.
"I'm very honored to receive this award because we've had to overcome a lot of obstacles and hurdles to get here," said Weber. "We've worked very hard to get to this level and now the challenge will be to sustain it."
Weber was also selected the Lake Michigan Conference Coach of the Year
for the second straight season.
Marizzaldi was an assistant for Lakeland during the 2000 and 2001 seasons and was instrumental in the program's success. During his tenure the Muskies set the school's win record two straight years after finishing 24-21 in 2000 and 25-18 in 2001. The Muskies also won their first regular season Lake Michigan Conference championship since 1986 in 2001.
Marizzaldi's primary responsibility at Lakeland was coaching the pitchers and recruiting. Under his guidance the Muskie staff broke several team and individual records and moved into the top 5 in several categories as well. His recruiting efforts helped bring in talented student-athletes that eventually helped lead the Muskies to a 5th place finish at the 2002 College World Series.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity and looking forward to beginning my duties at Seton Hill," said Marizzaldi. "Even though it's a start-up I believe I'm experienced in building programs as I did it before with Coach Weber at Lakeland. We took over a down program and built it into one that has gained regional and national recognition."
"I learned a lot under Coach Weber's guidance about how to run a successful program and look forward to doing the same at Seton Hill," said Marizzaldi.
After two years at Lakeland Marizzaldi was an assistant coach at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh for one season and helped them set their school wins record as well (26).
"Marc is a proven winner and a talented young coach," said Weber. "He did a great job at Lakeland and Duquesne, and will have continued success at Seton Hill. He is a hard worker, an excellent recruiter, and won't let anything stand in his way. We are very happy he is getting this unique opportunity."
Amazingly, this is already the third coach that has moved on to the college head coaching ranks after working under Weber at Lakeland, and all have had success. Damon Day is currently the head coach at Dana College in Nebraska and has rebuilt the program there, going from 8 wins, to 13, to 26. Jason Bartelt is the current head coach at Marian College in Wisconsin and led them to six more wins than the previous season in his first year.