BAKER — Former Baker baseball standout Alan Weidenhammer is taking a chance to further his baseball career.
Weidenhammer is headed to Ashland, Wis., and Northland College, sight unseen, except through the Internet.
Northland, a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III school, offers no athletic scholarships. But based on Weidenhammer’s 27 on the ACT, the school did offer him $95,000 in financial aid, which will cover about 60 percent of his expenses during his four years in college.
Weidenhammer is just happy to keep playing baseball.
“I’m a little nervous about it because I’ve wanted to go play in college,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to it."
“(Northland Coach Ernie May) is talking about using me as a starting pitcher," Weidenhammer said. "I’m basically going to pick up pointers from an older pitcher that will graduate after my freshman year. And then I will basically slide into his role the next year.”
Baker Coach Adam Henry said Weidenhammer has the qualities needed to compete at the college level.
“Alan is going to work hard,” Henry said. “In whatever he does, he’s going to give it all he’s got. He’s going to be the first one on the field and the last one to leave.
“He’s just going to progress and get better. He’s going to be able to change his speeds a lot. His off speed pitch is a big difference from his fastball, so it’s going to be able to help him.”
Weidenhammer said LumberJack coaches first contacted him Feb. 17 after seeing his profile on a recruiting site. Over the last several months, things fell into place for him to attend the school that’s 1,300 miles from home.
Northland has an up-and-coming baseball program. Picked to finish fifth in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, the LumberJacks finished second in the league.
Weidenhammer, who plans to major in electrical engineering, said he will work the next few months improving at baseball as he prepares for his college career.
“I’ve got to keep my arm in shape and get some more speed on my pitches,” he said.
Henry hopes Weidenhammer's path will show other Baker baseball players that they too can play college baseball.
“I think it’s a big step in our program,” he said. “Hopefully people will follow in Alan’s steps and want to go on to the next level and play ball.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.