The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

March 31, 2013

East's Quame has passion for baseball

MANKATO — The Mankato East baseball team won just four games a year ago so it’s not a stretch to assume the Cougars will be improved this season. And if the club begins to turn things around, it’s a sure bet senior Drew Quame will be a major part of it.

This is Quame’s fourth year on varsity and he brings a .301 career batting average to the field. The large first baseman, who plays football at about 245 but has trimmed down to around 215 for baseball, is hoping to make a big impact this spring.

“I’d like to be over .300 again and I’d like to hit some home runs,” he said. “The main thing is we want to win more games.

“We’d like to be up around the .500 mark. I think we have the talent to do it.”

You can’t blame Quame for being optimistic. As much as he enjoyed playing football for the Cougars, baseball is his first love.

His father, Dan, is the team’s head coach and his brother, Derek, plays for Augustana College. Drew was raised around a baseball diamond so the sport took hold at an early age.

“I love it,” he said. “I try to get out and play catch or hit or whatever every chance I get. Practice is fun but I love playing the game.”

His father Dan agrees: “You don’t have to tell Drew to work on his game, he’s already doing it. He was up at the cage at the (MAYBA shed) a lot this winter. He’s always trying to make himself better.”

However this spring plays out, Drew Quame expects to be at Bethany Lutheran College next fall. He has verbally committed to become a Viking where he plans to continue playing baseball. His father is an alumnus of the Bethany program.

“I just want to keep playing,” Drew said. “I’d play forever if I could.”

The youngest Quame, a returning All-Big Nine Conference player, should have an ample amount of help on this year’s East team. Seniors Brandon Adema, Arlen Nett and Jordan Grams have all returned after making significant contributions a year ago.

Adema pitched 35 innings for the Cougars in 2012 and Nett logged 24 innings. Nett was the pitcher of record in two of the team’s four wins.

Grams figures to be the team’s starting shortstop but will also be called upon to pitch. Among the other top returnees are Mike Zellar, Pat Rohlfing, Brent Adams and Sean Allan. Allan, Quame, Rohlfing, Zellar and Nick Brink will also do some pitching for the Cougars.

Rohlfing is the front runner to start at catcher, but if sophomore Cooper Wolfe develops quickly, coach Quame would have the luxury of using Rohlfing somewhere else.

“We still have some decisions to make,” coach Quame said. “We’re looking to fill second base and some outfield spots. A lot of it will probably come down to who is swinging the bat the best.”

East (4-17 in 2012) is scheduled to open the season April 6 at Rochester Century. The Cougars first home game is slated for 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, at Wolverton Field.

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