ST. JOSEPH (WCIA) — St. Joseph-Ogden baseball has a history of aces on the mound as several in recent years have gone on to play at the Division I level.
With the most recent flamethrower Crayton Burnett moving on to Illinois, the Spartans are now looking for someone to step into that role.
“We got a lot of guys that can fill those shoes,” says head coach Josh Haley. “Tyler Altenbaumer’s the first one. He’s off to a good start right now so really it’s just about picking up where another guy left off and like I said we’ve had a rich history of pitching here so Tyler will be ready to go.”
Haley is confident in his team’s ability to make it back to State. After Burnett graduated and now plays at Illinois, he says Altenbaumer is stepping up to the mound.
“All my coaches, teammates and just my mindset has been preparing me the most,” says Altenbaumer. “Just go out there and do my thing that I know capable of and again pick up where I left off last year.”
Altenbaumer says he’s ready to take his team to state after pitching in last year’s sectional title game. He held Paris to just one run in seven innings, helping the Spartans to Supers. His coach and teammates believe he’s capable of guiding them even further this year.
“Tyler’s been throwing to me ever since I was nine years old,” says SJO catcher Coby Miller. “Me and him are just like best friends so catching him is one of the easiest things I have to do. We have the best chemistry out of anyone I’ve ever caught in my life.”
“We’ve coached these guys since 7th grade so we’ve got a long history with these guys so Coby and Tyler have been throwing together for six years now,” says Haley.
Having worked together for so long, Miller says he and Altenbaumer are now focusing on growing as leaders.
“I don’t have to do much to make sure everyone’s on the right track,” says Altenbaumer. “I just lead by example and hopefully everyone follows in my lead.”
“I think me and Tyler both have to become more vocal and like if somethings not going right in practice, to step in and get on some of our teammates,” says Miller. “In games if things aren’t going well we need to get everyone together and just get everybody in the right mind set and just keep moving forward.”
While they’re its still early in the season, the Spartans have eyes on Peoria, but they plan to take it day by day.
“That’s our ultimate goal is to just build up every day and get to the point where we know we’re playing our best so we can go and win a state title,” says Altenbaumer.