February 2020 will be seeing the return of a fresh and dynamic Valpo baseball team. Head Coach Brian Schamack has been focusing on the philosophy of keeping the team focused on the process regardless of how the season goes on. The dynamic of the team has been emphasized on the level of comfort the players have with each other, which has brought them closer together as a team.
“Everyone understands that we are working towards the same goal. I think everyone feels comfortable around each other, so that is really important,” said senior pitcher Jon Tieman.
This year’s baseball team will get to see the return of a variety of seniors at a variety of positions. Senior catchers Louie Baker and Christian Barczi will return behind the dish. In the infield, senior Damon Jorgensen will return. In the outfield, seniors Steven Fitzsimmons and Riley Dent will be back in the lineup.
Valpo’s pitching will be strong this year with the number of seniors on staff. Tieman will be continuing his journey as a starter. Fifth year senior Montana Quigley will also return for Valpo. Seniors Tanner Skidmore, Easton Rhodehouse, and Jim Jarecki will all return. Lefty southpaws Michael Mommersteeg and Jarrett Hammel will also be returning to make a difference on the mound.
“We have a really deep pitching staff this year. I think it is important to be one of the leaders along with the other seniors, especially for the younger guys,” Tieman said. “We have a lot of freshman and sophomores coming in. They will be expected to contribute heavily, so I think it is important leading the way for them.”
Valpo usually opens the season with a month of non-conference games on the road all over the southern part of the country. Conference or home games at Emory G. Bauer Field won’t start until the end of March.
“For us, both of those teams are picked to win their conference, and Southern Miss is a perennial Top 40 team. But, at that time of the year, we are looking to challenge ourselves,” Schmack said.
The rest of the long road journey will see Valpo play against Nicholls State, Georgia Southern, Alabama State, Southeastern Louisiana, and Kent State.
The first stretch of home games will start on the week of March 24. Valpo opens that day against Ball State and then Chicago State the following day. Conference team Dallas Baptist University will be the first conference series Valpo will host the following weekend.
March will wrap up with a single game at Purdue. April will open with a home series against Northern Illinois on the first weekend. A single Milwaukee game will occur on the following Tuesday. The next weekend series will be against Illinois State in their stadium. On April 14, Valpo will host Western Michigan, with a conference series with Indiana state the following weekend.
On April 21, Valpo will travel to South Bend to play Notre Dame. The next day, Valpo hosts Eastern Illinois at home. Conference team Southern Illinois will host Valpo the following weekend. On April 28, Valpo will play Western Michigan in their stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
May begins with a road conference series against Evansville. The following Tuesday will be played against Chicago State in the Windy City. The weekends of May 8 and May 14 will be Valpo’s last two conference home series games before the season wraps up. May 8 will be against Missouri State, May 14 against Bradley.
After the season wraps up, baseball will be The Missouri Valley Conference tournament will be held in Carbondale, Illinois from May 19 to May 23.