LU baseball finishes season at 17-16

Kyle Dallman

Just as we witnessed a quarter of the Major League Baseball season evaporate before our eyes in the span of spring term at Lawrence, we have witnessed our very own LU Viking baseball season come to a close. But as our very own athletics section of the school website flaunts, the Vikings gave us plenty to cheer about this season.
Senior Kevin Fitzsimmons; juniors Andrew Wong, Brad Hauser and Billy Bodle; sophomore Bryan Rosen; and freshman Tommy Schmidt earned first team all-Midwest Conference honors, while senior B.J. Chase and freshmen Alex Fritsch and Jordan Clark enjoyed second team votes.
Head coach Korey Krueger watched his team break 16 season, career and team records during the season. Infielder Wong led the pack in that field, solidifying his place as one of the most prolific hitters in the history of the sport at Lawrence.
After completing the 2005 season with a .400 average, 52 hits, 14 doubles, five triples and 31 RBIs, Wong has clawed his way into legitimate contention for several school records post-2006 season. Wong is on pace to break school records in hits, doubles and RBIs and already possesses four single season benchmarks.
The highest honor for Wong came when he was chosen for ESPN the Magazine’s Academic All-America Team in 2005. Wong maintains a 3.90 grade point average in addition to a sure spot in the heart of the 2006-07 LU Vikings batting order.
As the Vikings’ season has come to a close, so is the time for the stellar class of 2006 to say their goodbyes.
Kevin Fitzsimmons, Lawrence’s dominating cleanup hitter, has enjoyed his last trot around the bags, but not before indulging in the most productive season of his career. Fitzsimmons posted a .347 average, launching eight home runs – one shy of the LU record – and droving in a school record 36 runs, a plateau that has not been reached in 34 years.
B.J. Chase, a hugely reliable part of the Lawrence rotation for three years, has also had his last hurrah. Chase just completed his most successful season at Lawrence and left it with the memory of his two-hit complete game shutout domination of Finlandia University in 2004.
The underclassmen influx over the last two seasons for Lawrence has been fantastic. Despite the 2005-06 Viking squad being incredibly young, it is incredibly experienced.
Alex Fritsch leads the charge of a slew of underclassmen that will be mainstays for Viking baseball. Fritsch posted the lowest ERA on the ball club: a cool 3.38 while going 2-0 in the conference with a 3.25 ERA. He allowed only 10 earned runs in 27.2 innings pitched and league opponents batted only .257 against him.
Pitchers Chris Clouthier and Josh Ritchie lead a sophomore class that is a gold mine of talent and numbers.
The Viking squad as a whole enjoyed an unusually productive offensive year, breaking the highly coveted team record for batting average, .322, and scoring more than 18 runs on multiple occasions. With an influx of underclassmen that are pitching heavy, and the return of many of LU’s sluggers, 2006 – and beyond – looks bright for Viking baseball fans.