By David Fong
Regional Sports Content Manager
PIQUA — Even when he was playing baseball year-round in the warm weather in Alabama, the chance to play in the cold, snowy weather of Piqua was never far from Taylor Baumeister’s mind.
“Oh yeah, when we moved back, we had choices of where we wanted to live,” said Baumeister, a senior on the Piqua baseball team and the Piqua Daily Call Athlete of the Week. “When I talked to my parents, I told them, ‘I want to move back to Piqua. I want to graduate a Piqua Indian. It’s pretty unusual, but all the seniors on this year’s team have all played together since the fifth or sixth grade. I wanted to finish with this group of guys.”
When he was in the third grade, Baumeister and his family moved to Piqua from Sandusky. They would live in Piqua until Baumeister’s eighth grade year, when they moved to Alabama. They moved back two years ago — the summer before Baumeister’s junior year. It’s been a mutually beneficial arrangement, as Baumeister has had the opportunity to play with the teammates he grew up with and the baseball team has benefitted from his presence on the mound and in the infield.
Through the first few weeks of the season, Baumeister has been the staff ace. In three apperances, he’s gone 1-0 with a miniscule 1.17 earned run average in 12 innings of work. He’s also struck out 12.
“Coach (Jared) Askins has really helped us all out with a lot of different programs,” Baumeister said. “His motto is, ‘Next pitch, next play.’ We’re always worried about what comes next. If we throw a pitch for a strike, that’s great — but if we don’t, we forget about it and move on to the next pitch.
“I definitely go out there to do my best and strike everybody out, but my main goal is to put us in a position to win. Obviously I know people are going to get some hits off of me, but I trust everybody behind me to make plays and give us a chance to win.”
Baumeister has contributed at the plate and in the field, as well. Last week, he hit his first career home run, a two-run shot that helped lift the Indians to a 7-1 win over Greenville. In the field, he’s seen time at third base, shortstop and second base.
“It’s been a little bit of a surprise to me,” Baumeister said of his emergence in the field. “I worked a lot in the offseason. I’ve got a lot bigger role now. It’s been great. I love being back — even if we have to play in 30-degree weather.”
Contact David Fong at (937) 440-5228 or firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong