For The Tribune
While three of his fellow senior teammates on the Seymour baseball team announced their college choices at the beginning of the season, Ryan Wieneke still was undecided if he wanted to play at the next level.
Talking to baseball coach Lance Marshall at Franklin College helped Wieneke make the decision.
This fall, Wieneke will join other former Owls on the Grizzlies baseball team.
“I think it was about two weeks ago when I had my conversation with the coach, and I realized I wasn’t ready to give up playing yet,” Wieneke said. “Hopefully, I’ll be ready to pitch up there, but I’ll play wherever they need me.”
Wieneke will be the fourth former Owl on the Franklin team.
Peter Duncan is a sophomore at Franklin, Mitchell Moore a freshman, and Keenan Bohall, the current starting catcher for the Owls, announced his plans to also go there prior to the start of the 2016 season.
The other two seniors who earlier announced their plans were Janzen Bloom, who is going to go to Indiana University Southeast; and Jorge Vega, who will play at Northwestern Ohio.
“Ryan has meant a lot to our program,” Owls coach Jeremy Richey said. “Just his work ethic. It rubs off on the younger guys and the way he has come in.
“About halfway through the season last year he really took off on the mound. He had great outings at the end of the year last year, and he’s thrown really well again this year. I know they’re real excited about his athleticism, too, but I think as a pitcher he can really help them out.”
Richey said he thinks Wieneke made a good choice in choosing to play baseball at Franklin.
“It’s a great program,” he said. “I really like coach Marshall. I think he gets a lot out of the guys that go there. I think it’s going to be a great fit for him. He’s going up there primarily to pitch.”
Wieneke said he has relied on three main pitches while throwing for the Owls over his career.
“I just try and locate my fastball, and mix it in mainly with a curveball and changeup or slider,” he said.
He considers his fastball his No. 1 pitch, and said he works hard on location.
“If you keep it outside a lot of hitters usually watch the first couple ones if they’re outside because it’s not their No. 1 pitch,” he said. “I just try to keep it away from them.”
Wieneke said he feels it is important to mix his pitches up to batters the second time through the lineup, and he needs to work on his changeup.
For Wieneke, getting ahead on the count is another key.
“It’s pretty important, It really builds a lot of confidence when you start off with the first pitch strike,” Wieneke said. “It gets in your head in the count. You don’t have to worry about falling behind.”
Wieneke has played third base, second base and right field in addition to pitching for the Owls this spring.
“We want to send as many kids away as possible to play,” Richey said. “That shows that kids are able to go on to the next level and play, and it also shows they enjoy playing baseball, and they want to continue to move on and play. I think it’s a good sign for our program, and I think shows a lot about these kids and the work ethic they’ve got.”
The senior said he has been playing baseball for as long as he can remember.
To finish his high school career, Wieneke thinks teamwork will make the difference come the postseason.
“We’re just going to have to play together to keep each other up, have positive attitudes and playing like we have been,” Wieneke said.