Kleinsasser signs with Minnesota West
WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota West head baseball coach Jeremy Irlbeck has been busy. After suffering through a 4-27 season in his first year at the helm of the Bluejay program, Monday Irlbeck added yet another player to his growing roster for next season.
WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota West head baseball coach Jeremy Irlbeck has been busy.
After suffering through a 4-27 season in his first year at the helm of the Bluejay program, Monday Irlbeck added yet another player to his growing roster for next season.
Jamison Kleinsasser, a 6-5 pitcher and first baseman, signed to play baseball at MW next season.
"It feels good to make the decision and get it off my shoulders," Kleinsasser said. "It's better late than never."
Kleinsasser was a first-team All-State pitcher and was a second-team All-State first baseman from his Brookings, S.D. team last season.
"Jamison is a pretty solid ballplayer," Irlbeck said. "He could be a traditional two-way threat for us, both on the mound and at the plate. If you look at our numbers from last year, we left a lot of RBIs on base. The idea is to get someone to come in and be an impact guy."
As a .431 hitter and a pitcher with a 4-1 record on the hill, it was the ability to make an impact two ways for the Bluejays that drew the lanky right-hander to MW.
"(I liked) the fact that I could be an impact player right away if I come and prove myself, which I feel I'm capable right away," Kleinsasser said. "I still haven't decided what I'm going to do more of. That's part of the reason why I chose junior college over a four-year school. I'd love to do both for as long as I can."
After playing a season with just 13 players, Kleinsasser is the 18th player to sign this offseason, with a potential for even more players filling the roster for MW.
"I think every guy we have coming in here is a good character guy," Irlbeck said. "I think some of them are characters, but that's all right, I can deal with that.
"The kids coming in are excited to come in and compete and earn some playing time," Irlbeck continued. "Everyone's heard the same thing. They know what we're going for and they know what the goal is. This isn't an intramural program. We're looking to compete, right now."
And for Irlbeck, the goal isn't to just be in games, but to win them.
"That's what our goal is, to make the state tournament," Irlbeck said. "From there, if we make the state tournament, we have a chance to make the region, and obviously if we make it out of the region, then we go to the national tournament. That's where we want to go. It's been pretty clear about that, but it has to be a three-step goal."
With numbers comes competition, and that's what Irlbeck hopes drives the Bluejays for a turnaround season.
"The big thing with this year is no one can be allowed to be complacent," Irlbeck said. "We're going to have two guys at every position, and we're going to have guys that are going to be ready to go.
"If we want to pretend people are Jimmy Rollins and not hustle out a ground ball or a pop up, that's fine; they can come and hang out with me and the other coaches on the staff in the dugout," Irlbeck added. "This year, maybe it won't be so lonely in the dugout."