NEW ULM - In the past years, there was a "baseball pipeline" that ran from New Ulm to the University of Minnesota that saw players like Tim, Tom and Terry Steinbach, Andy Hammerschmidt, Brian Raabe and Adam Horton wear the maroon and gold for the Gophers.
While that pipeline has gone dry, a new pipeline for baseball talent has developed which now runs from New Ulm to St. Cloud State University in the form of players Kyle and Garrett Fischer, Zach Hoffmann and now Judd Davis.
And if SCSU head baseball coach Pat Dolan has his way, that pipeline will keep on sending baseball talent north on Highway 15.
"For the past three summers, New Ulm has invited us down for our baseball camp," said Dolan. "For us, it is a win-win situation and kids in New Ulm get a couple of days for a local baseball camp."
Dolan knows that the roots of New Ulm baseball runs deep.
"I know that when I was playing for Cold Spring, we played the Kaiserhoff and a good friend of mine, Brian Raabe who is now the head baseball coach at Bethel University - we played together in the Lion's All-Star game. There is good baseball in New Ulm and we are fortunate to get some of that talent coming our way now."
Dolan also knows that seeing the Huskies' logo at the camp helps in the future.
"It is nice for them to see us out there," Dolan said. "Kyle and Garrett Fischer were at the camp signing autographs, so it is a win-win."
Dolan said that he is happy that he is getting Davis for next season.
"He is a scrapper - he is our kind of player," said Dolan. "He is a great lefthanded hitter with good speed. I think he will get physically stronger. He is a baseball junkie. He is going to be a big part of our program."
SCHUGEL WITH BRAVES: Former New Ulmite Jeff Schugel, who is a Special Assistant to the General Manager of the Atlanta Braves, said that he has had a great experience in his first year with the Braves.
Schugel, who has worked for the Twins, Rockies, Dodgers and Angels, said that he answers directly to GM Frank Wren.
"I am the Braves' west-coast eye, I cover seven different organizations west of Colorado including the majors, AAA and AA teams," Schugel said. "And now with the trade deadline approaching I'll be busy. I will be involved in them if we do make trades."
While the philosophies of teams are basically the same, Schugel said that National League teams may be looking at a bench player more or one who can play more positions.
Schugel did talk about the rise in pitchers having season-ending Tommy John surgery.
"That has caught the eyes of baseball as a whole," he said. "I don't think that anyone has any answers but I do think that there is something to the fact the majority of the pitchers going down throw very hard - above average fastball pitchers - and the other thing is the amount of breaking balls thrown at an early age. Most of these guys have pitched all of their lives."
He said that most clubs now are very aware of pitch counts and keep a close eye on them.
"Another thing is the college game," he said. "I was watching in one of the Super Regionals where Texas A&M had a freshman lefthander against Texas in an elimination game and he is still pitching with 140 pitches under his belt. That is common place in college. The amount of injuries is scary even in high school ball."