Pitcher battles injury bug during final season

IUS Horizon

Kris Eschman
Kris Eschman

Most athletes start their senior season with high expectations and hopes of ending their playing career as a winner and going out on top.

Kris Eschman, senior pitcher, has been the model of consistency for the pitching rotation during his previous three seasons. Eschman was at the top of total innings pitched during his junior season and lead the Grenadiers with 47 strikeouts for the year.

For Eschman, this season hasn’t started the way he would have liked. He has been limited to only three games played this season because of a strained flexor ligament in his throwing arm. The injury occurred during his last outing against Indiana Tech on March 5.

“My arm went numb,” Eschman said. “Pain shot up and down my arm.”

Eschman said he hopes to be recovered from the injury and back on the mound in time for the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference season.

Van Fowler, senior catcher, said the team is not at its best when Eschman is not in the pitching rotation.

“Not having him available is big loss for us,” Fowler said. “We lose his leadership. When you have him out there the team has a good feeling that we will win. Without him playing, we lose some of that confidence.”

Eschman said he plans on returning to the mound as soon as he is cleared to by doctors.

“I try to lead by example,” Eschman said. “I try to do the right thing all the time to be an example for the freshmen.”

Fowler, who has played baseball with Eschman since high school, said Eschman is the anchor of the IUS pitching staff.

“If I had to give the ball to anyone, I would want it to be him,” Fowler said.

Derek Mills, senior second baseman, said Eschman is always a reliable teammate and is someone  the players know they can talk to on and off the field.

Eschman started his career at IU Southeast as a left fielder, but, during his freshman year, one of the pitchers was injured and the team was in need of another pitcher.

Eschman had pitched during his high school years at Seneca High School in Louisville and was given a chance when his teammate went down.

“I did all right during my first outing and just kind of stuck as a pitcher,” Eschman said.

He finished his freshman season with a record of six wins and two losses.

Eschman said he judges how well he does during the season by the amount of wins he gets for his team.

Even though Eschman said he was glad to be the team leader in strikeouts last season, he has not let his accomplishments get to his head and cloud his mind with individual goals after he returns from injury.

“I just want more wins,” Eschman said. “I had the most strikeouts because the catchers called good pitches for me to throw.”

Eschman’s past performances and achievements have not been lost on his current teammates.

“Kris has consistency over everyone,” Fowler said. “He can always locate at least some of his pitches every game.”

Mills said the Grenadiers feel confident when Eschman is on the mound.

“With Kris pitching we always have a chance to win,” Mills said. “He is one of the most reliable pitchers. He always battles and gives everything he’s got.”

Eschman’s ability to get the job done on the mound during important moments for his team has given Eschman the respect of his teammates.

“We know we can depend on him,” Fowler said. “If it’s the last inning and it’s on the line, we want him on the mound.”

Eschman is pursuing a double major in marketing and management and said he plans on returning to help his team make it to the national tournament.

By JUSTIN RAY

Staff Writer

jusray@umail.iu.edu