Andrew Ball NLI.jpg

Red Wing's Andrew Ball signed his letter of Intent to play baseball for Augustana. He was joined by his parents, Chris and Sarah, and Activities Director Paul Hartmann. Submitted photo

Wednesday was a big day for Andrew Ball. He’d been working hard to get the attention of college coaches and finally found the perfect fit. On Wednesday, the Red Wing senior signed his letter of intent to play baseball for Augustana.

Ball said he wouldn’t have gotten to this point without working hard in the weight room and adjusting his skill set as he got older.

In middle school, Ball was on the top level team, Triple-A, for traveling baseball, he said, because of his size and height. As time went on, others caught up to him and passed him in size and weight. No longer was the biggest kid on the team, he began to think baseball wasn’t for him anymore.

“As high school hit, everyone started growing. I kind of plateaued, because I didn't really work for it and just went off what was given to me in the beginning. It showed. I made the bottom team freshman year for my travel team.

“I contemplated not playing. Next spring I went out and tried out for a different club team along with the one I was previously on. I made both top teams and chose the one that I had been with for four years, at the time, the rest of history.”

The transformation from nearly quitting baseball to signing with Augustana began in the weight room. Ball admitted he wasn’t taking the strength and mechanics as seriously as he should have, but he refocused himself to commit to working out through the winter months.

It’s certainly paid off.

Activities director and baseball coach Paul Hartmann said from the first start in the playoffs to now, Ball has never wavered from his personal commitment to getting stronger.

“Once you make contact with a coach, it's all about the player proving themselves,” Hartman said about athletes keeping a connection alive with college coaches. “He proved himself last spring when they saw him and when they saw him multiple times this summer.”

Ball said he had some interest in other locations but knew almost immediately that he wanted to go to Augustana. The campus size and community size were the two biggest factors for Ball, along with the team atmosphere and highly credible coaching staff.

Ball plans to play basketball for Red Wing again, then pitch for the baseball team. He’s loved pitching and is set to continue to do so with the Vikings.

“There's something about the adrenaline rush starting on the mound,” Ball said when asked why he prefers pitching. “When you have good competition you're staring down and they are staring you down. One of them has to shove it down the other person's throat.”

Augustana won the Division II national championship in 2018, winning a program-best 52 games. Tim Huber enters his 14th season as head coach of the Vikings. The baseball team has found recent success, appearing in the Division II NCAA tournament three times in the last four seasons.

“I'm very excited to get started. I can't wait to play for Augie,” Ball said.

Area Signees

Two Lake City athletes signed their letters of intent Wednesday morning; Natalie Bremer and Ava Brunn. Bremer signed with MSU-Mankato women’s basketball, and Brunn signed to play volleyball at South Dakota School of Mines.

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