Bluebirds Baseball Exprienced Peaks And Valleys


The recent Cole Camp baseball season ended at 10-12. They lost their ace pitcher before the season due to injuries but had two exceptional freshmen come into the program. The BCE had a chance to talk to coach Brendan Rusk about his team and his future goals?

JL: How did the season go for you? Any surprises?
Coach Rusk: This season went really well considering how young we got at the end of the year. If you look at our record, you would think that we didn't have a very successful year but we had 5+ rain outs that I think could have been wins. We competed very well with a tough schedule and pulled out a third place trophy in the conference tournament. We came in as the 6 seed and upset #3 Windsor and #4 Northwest. We lost in the semis to Tipton who is playing in the Elite 8, so I think we came out and had a fantastic outing in the conference when nobody gave us the credit we deserved.
We lost Reid in the district tournament due to injury and started 3 freshmen, 3 sophomores, 1 junior, and 2 seniors. We beat a good Versailles team and lost the championship to a good Warsaw team 2-0 and gave ourselves a chance by staying in the ball game. A few young mistakes hurt us but getting these young kids that big game experience will help us down the road.
I can do nothing but leave this season with a smile, knowing that we brought home some trophies that if you asked me 2 months ago, I would have told you was not going to happen. I am proud of our kids. Our seniors will be tough to replace, as they always are, but we have young kids ready for the challenge.

JL: You lost your ace in Dieckman. How did that affect the team?
Coach Rusk: Gentry Dieckman was our ace for 3 years, so losing him was one of the toughest challenges the program has had to face in my time here. His big game presence on the mound and his experience was hard to replace. He also helped us significantly at the plate so losing production offensively and defensively is the difference maker in over half of our losses, in my opinion. We had several young kids step up and that was big in helping us overcome those challenges

JL: Comment on your two freshman pitchers Blake Abey and Dasch Kaiser and your entire pitching staff.
Coach Rusk: Kaiser came in and took over the ace role for us and he did a fantastic job keeping us in ball games, which is all we ask our pitchers to do. He gained a ton of big game experience that will be crucial for us down the road. He and Colton Dieckman were a fantastic 1-2 punch in big games with Colton kind of filling that closer role for us. Abey and Bohon ate up the other innings for us and did a great job. I was very happy with our pitching staff this year. We are a VERY young pitching staff, with almost all of our innings being thrown by 2 freshmen, 1 sophomore, and 1 junior. We look to get Burke back next year as a junior, who couldn't pitch this year due to arm issues. We don't lose any pitching and will gain Bovey Clark as a sophomore and any incoming freshman. Our staff will be young, but full of experience.

JL: How did Reid Harrison, (your all-time base stealer) do in the stolen base department this season and in his career? What were his final numbers. ?
Coach Rusk: Reid ended this year with 12 stolen bases. This is lower than we anticipated but we lost 7 games to rain and he didn't play in 5 games this year because of a track injury. Not playing in 13 scheduled games took a toll on his numbers. He ended his career with 77.

JL: Was there a key game that signified your season?
Coach Rusk: I don't think there was any one key game that signified the season but we competed all year and that is big for young kids. The whole conference tournament was a huge boost as we learned that we can not only compete with anyone but win ball games when it matters most. We played our best ball late and that's all you can ask for.

JL: Any freshman coming up to help the team next year?
Coach Rusk: I will be able to answer that question better as we get into summer workouts. We have around 8 incoming freshmen that will definitely help us get our number back up. We will also add a senior who did not play last year due to grade issues but we look to make sure he is ready for the Spring as he will be a big help in the infield.

JL: What are your plans for the team this summer?
Coach Rusk: This summer we will work hard with summer workouts and weights, practicing, and getting some games in with surrounding schools to see what we have in store for next Spring.

JL: You were blessed with a newborn son at the end of the season. Is he a shortstop or a pitcher?
Coach Rusk: We are definitely blessed with Liam. I am hoping that he wants to take after his dad and be a catcher! We will know more for sure in a couple of weeks when we get him out in the yard and work on some drills.

We want to thank Cole Camp sports for an interesting year of activity of basketball, football, track, softball, wrestling and baseball.

We wish them the best.