By STEVE KRAH
After 25 road games to begin the 2021 season, VU came home to a diamond with turf on the infield and down the foul lines and went 3-1 in Missouri Valley Conference series against both Southern Illinois and Illinois State.
“In the time that we’ve been able to use the turf, it has given our players an opportunity to take ground balls and work to hone their skills whenever they choose,” Valpo head coach Brian Schmack said. “We’ve had fewer disruptions to our game and practice schedules due to rain and field conditions. As soon as the rain stops, we’re out there playing or practicing. Another tremendous
benefit is freeing up our players to not have to stay after to do field work or arrive early in the morning to pull the tarp.
“Instead, they are able to focus on the game. The turf creates a cleaner game with fewer bad hops, and that’s been awesome to see. Our players can’t get enough of it.”
The turf installation was made possible by lead gifts from Valpo alumni Lynn Scheutzow (Class of ’74) Young and Carl Young (’73) and the Deetjen family. The Young and Deetjen families both had
sons who played baseball at Valpo. Kyle Young (’03) played for four years from 1999-2003 and was the primary starting catcher in each of his final three seasons.
Tyler Deetjen (’12) played under coaches Tracy Woodson and Brian Schmack from 2009-2012.
“We’re very humbled by the support,” Schmack said. “We’re so thankful that families of players from several years ago are willing to invest in our program and our players.
“It’s extremely humbling, and we’re very appreciative. We’re encouraged by the fact that alums are willing to help support the program, and hopefully that’s a sign that we’re doing things the right way.
“We are tremendously appreciative of the Young and Deetjen families.”
Valpo is slated for five more games at Emory G. Bauer Field this spring — May 11 vs. Notre Dame and May 14-16 against MVC opponent Evansville.
On May 3, Valpo freshman Kaleb Hannahs was named MVC Player of the Week.