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New Coaches Lead SAU Baseball

Photo courtesy of SAU Athletics.

Baseball season is just getting underway at St. Ambrose University, and the team is looking forward to some change on and off the field. 

SAU Athletics has promoted two new coaches. Tony Huntley has been named the head coach and Hunter Keim, who was a player on the team last season, is now the pitching coach, according to the SAU athletics website. 

When The Buzz talked to Coach Huntley about his promotion he says, “First of all it’s an honor to be a head coach at your alma mater, that’s a pretty big deal.

“Being the head coach is not a lot of transitional change from what I was doing the last 10 years just by title, but doing everything that I normally do. [Now] I just gotta deal with more of the administrative stuff as a head coach, but the everyday practices and whatnot, I’ve been doing [for] a long time.”

Although this is a bit of a change from the previous season, players say they are excited for this upcoming season. 

Senior Noah McCreary catching to try to get an opponent out last season in a game. (Photo courtesy of Paige Bily Photography)

Senior infielder, Noah McCreary, told the Buzz, “Everyone on the team loves playing for Coach Huntley, and we were all really excited for him to get the job. He has been with the program for a long time and is definitely the right guy to lead us.” 

But this isn’t the only person that players, as well as Head Coach Huntley, say they are excited to have on the coaching staff. Huntley says, “Adding Hunter Keim was a great move because they played with him last year, so they relate a little bit more to him. He really knows his pitching and takes a lot of worry off my head. I don’t have to micromanage pitching. I let Hunter do his thing, and we talk about it everyday. He goes about his work, and we go about the rest of the team’s work.” 

Junior pitcher Jacob Bosse describes Keim’s addition as an assistant and pitching coach as, “A big upgrade. 

“It’s a very cool feeling to be able to play with someone [from the team], and even though we’re pretty good friends, we all respect that he’s in charge and are willing to do what he expects of us.”

Junior Jacob Bosse throwing a pitch in a game last season. (Photo courtesy of Paige Bily Photography)

Both Bosse and McCreary, as well as the rest of the team, say they have one thing on their mind this year: win the conference championship. 

Bosse says, “The past few seasons we’ve come up short, but with all of these new changes we believe this team can find a way to keep moving forward.”

McCreary added, “Winning the conference tournament is our best shot at getting to play in the national tournament so that is what our sights are set on, and I think we have a team that can do it.” 

Although this is the main goal of the team this season, this isn’t the only challenge they will face this season. 

The other challenge is on the fields in where they play. SAU baseball players have two different home fields for this year’s season, which include Modern Woodmen Park and NelsonCorp Field in Clinton, Iowa.

Coach Huntely says, “Not having our own field does hinder us some, but it’s a mindset in my mind, or the coaching staff’s mind. You gotta show up no matter where your playing and put out your best game. But [I have] told our guys, wherever we play, you should show up, you play to your fullest and whatever happens, happens. Embrace being on the road. It’s ideal all the time, no, but I think it brings us closer, being on the road, than it does being home all the time. And our guys have bought into that.” 

Bosse says, “Having two home sites is a bit difficult, but once we get out there and have some time on the field, it’s just like riding a bike.” 

As a Midwestern state, the weather conditions are unpredictable and challenging, especially in the early parts of the season. McCreary adds, “[As] a northern school, we are used to playing a lot of games on the road and in different stadiums so I think we will adapt well. We are lucky enough to have two home fields that are maintained at a professional level, and we look forward to having people out for those games.” 

Although there have been some changes to the way this team looks, they are looking forward to competing as a team no matter where they are playing or who they are playing. You can catch the Bees in their first home doubleheader against St. Francis at Modern Woodmen Park on Friday, March 15, 2024 with the first pitch being thrown at 1pm.