Q and A with the WashU Baseball Seniors

Photo by Scott Margolin
Photo by Scott Margolin

By Caroline Ballard

Sports Information Intern

The Washington University in St. Louis baseball team will honor its 10 seniors Sunday prior to its 11 a.m. game against University of Chicago – Ben Browdy, Matt Clohisy, Ted Daley, Austin Darmawan, Bill Heisler, Tate Maider, Brad Margolin, Jake Mintz, Scott Nelson and Christian Santos.

The seniors have helped lead the Bears to a 117-58 overall record (.669 winning percentage). During that time WashU has won three University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships (2015, '16, '17) and qualified for the NCAA Division III Baseball Championships twice (2015, '16).

The seniors responded to a list of questions presented by Sports Information Intern Caroline Ballard discussing their past four years at WashU.

What made you choose to come to WashU?

Ben Browdy: I chose Wash U because of the incredible combination of academics and competitive Division III athletics. I also heard that there was no class on Fridays in the business school, which was hard to ignore. 

Jake Mintz: Everyone else will answer something along the lines of "I came to WashU for the great academics and the amazing campus atmosphere" but in all honesty I came for Ibby's all-you-can eat lunch buffet, the beautiful weather, and the opportunity to play college baseball in front of thousands of adoring fans. 

Brad Margolin: Aside from it being a great intersection of athletics and academics, I chose WashU because of the people I met when I first visited.  Everyone seemed to be genuinely happy with his or her decision to come here.  The students and staff were incredibly nice and welcoming to me.  The guys on the baseball team also included me as one of their own for the weekend and made me realize how great being on the baseball team at WashU is.

Ted Daley: I wanted to do engineering, and if there was a good school that I could do engineering at and play baseball as well, that was ideal for me. I also wanted to get away from the east coast, having grown up in the D.C. area. 

Bill Heisler: I wanted to get back to the Midwest after moving to California as a kid. The caliber of students and the academic rigor attracted me to the school.  

Austin Darmawan: There were a number of reasons why I came to WashU. I had heard a lot of good things about WashU through friends and family, and I knew that WashU had excellent academics. A good friend the year above me was telling me how great it was her first month there and I knew that it was going be a great fit for me too. 

Scott Nelson:  I was looking for a place to combine baseball and business. I ultimately chose Wash U for two primary reasons: a stellar athletics program, and a top five undergraduate business school. It wasn't until I visited that I realized how beautiful the school was, how engaging the surrounding St. Louis area is, and how great the WashU community is. Quite honestly, it was exactly what I wanted in a school.

Christian Santos: Coming out of high school, I was looking to play baseball at the next level while also getting a top-notch education. Of all the schools I looked at, WashU stood out to me as the place I could call home. I loved the strong sense of community I got when I visited and knew that WashU was a place I could see myself enjoying with or without athletics.

Matt Clohisy: At the time when I was deciding on a college I wasn't sure what I wanted to study. So, I wanted to go to the best all-around academic institution I could to leave as many doors open as possible. Being from St. Louis I originally thought I wanted to experience a new city, but WashU ended up being my favorite option. I have been extremely happy with 4 years here and have really tried to take advantage of the diverse student body, privilege to play on the baseball team, and great academic opportunities. 

Tate Maider: I chose WashU because it was the perfect combination of sports, social and academics. For me I was looking for an environment with like minded individuals who loved to get after it on the field and in the classroom. I felt that this was the best campus culture for me in those areas.

How do you balance your schedule between baseball and school?

BB: Baseball makes balancing everything else much easier. A lot of time is budgeted for practice, lifts, and games so outside of that, I have to be efficient in using my other time for managing academic and social commitments. 

JM: In all honesty it's all about budgeting and prioritizing your time and remembering what you're going to remember 10 years from now. Spending time with friends and teammates > stressing out over grades. I think that people at this school care too much about their GPA, grades, etc and forget to stop and smell the roses. 

BM: I try to take advantage of the free time I have and get work done.  It's not always easy or the most fun, but it makes life a lot less stressful when I have a lot of work/games on the horizon. Also, the occasional late night when needed.

TD: Sports have taught me time management skills, so I just try to look ahead on our practice/game schedule and see when we will have tougher weeks, and when we will have lighter weeks where I can work ahead on schoolwork. I also have a group of mechanical engineering friends, including Matt Clohisy, that I work a lot with, which helps knock out assignments.

BH: Coffee for the late nights.

AD: I think the key to balancing these two commitments is prioritizing and being aware of your schedule. If I know that I have a big project or test coming up in a couple of weeks, I'll try to get started on that while I have down time. There also have been times where I don't do a homework assignment in order to finish a group project. Freshman year, I definitely spent more time studying than baseball. However over the years, I learned what I could and couldn't get away with, allowing me to develop a healthy balance between baseball, academics, sleep, and social life. 

SN:   The first step is planning ahead and staying organized. Before each Spring semester, I lay out my class schedules, tests, group meetings, and events next to my baseball schedule to identify conflicts and understand how to maneuver the schedule. The next step is mindset and approach. In order to survive my Spring schedule, I have to be motivated and hungry to take on a lot of responsibilities and succeed in them. In fact, my best GPAs have usually come in the Spring semester because I perform better when I am busier. You have to embrace being busy, and stay on top of things while keeping a positive attitude.

CS: I've balanced baseball with school by managing my time effectively and focusing on what's in front of me. Being an athlete at WashU can be pretty busy as we all know, so managing my time and not letting the next thing on my agenda distract me from what I am doing in the moment have really helped me get everything done without getting too stressed.

MC: Balancing baseball and school has definitely been a challenge, but one I'm glad that I've learned to manage. One thing that has really helped me successfully balance my schedule is trying to limit distractions and stay focused on whatever I'm doing. I block off times in my days to strictly work on my studies, or when I go to practice or a workout I try not to think about anything else so I can maximize what I get out of it. Being totally invested in the task at hand has really helped me out.

TM: I don't, but no one does hahaha. No, but honestly one of the downsides of college athletics is that it's a huge time commitment. For me when it's baseball practice that's all I think about. When it's time to crunch in school, that's all I focus on. Divide and conquer.

What have you learned from playing under head coach Pat Bloom?

BB: Playing for Coach Bloom has taught me so much about truly being a part of a team. Hard work, attention to detail, sacrifice, and commitment to our process are really stressed in our program, all things that we'll carry with us wherever we go in life. 

JM: I believe I've really grown as a person under coach. Though my roommates/parents may dispute this I think I've become much more organized and regimented since Coach Bloom started here. He's been an enormous influence in my life and I owe him a ton for that. I've also learned a ton of random stuff about Wisconsin.

BM: While there is a lot, the biggest thing I learned from Coach Bloom is the need to pay attention to and execute the little things.  As a pitcher, there is a big difference between throwing the ball on the plate versus two baseballs off of the plate.  Pitching the ball on the plate gives the hitter a much better chance of getting a hit and potentially winning the game.  Coach Bloom has always emphasized executing these small details in order to be more successful.  Paying attention to the minor details and being able to execute on them is something that will last with me beyond my playing days.

TD: My work ethic has increased tremendously, and I think I take more pride in the little things and the process through which those things get done, rather than just the results. I also think that as a team and as individuals, we all have learned better composure and professionalism since Coach Bloom arrived at the program.

BH: I learned to be more attentive to detail. I learned an urgency to improve my entire skill set each day and drill. I learned what it means to be a leader on and off the field.

AD: I could go on forever about the things I've learned from coach Bloom. Amongst the baseball skills and fundamentals, I learned a lot about what it means to be a part of a team. Coach Bloom has helped us build a culture based on respect and commitment. I would do anything for these guys, and I know they would do the same for me. We may have different interests and different personalities, but when it comes down to it, we're all committed to the team and our goal of not only winning a national championship, but building a program that earns respect on a national level year after year.

SN: Baseball is a game of details, and understanding the little things that go into making someone successful. Coach Bloom knows that better than anyone. I have never done more individual hitting work, pitching drills, video review, or talks about little details and adjustments than I have with Coach Bloom. He came in my Junior year, with a team of excited, talented, yet undisciplined players and turned us into a classy, disciplined, well-respected powerhouse of a team and program.

CS: If there's one thing I've learned playing for Coach Bloom, it is that it takes consistent effort and discipline to accomplish any goal you set for yourself. This was absolutely true for me and my career as a ballplayer and is something I will be taking with me going forward.

MC: Playing for Coach Bloom has been an honor. He's the best baseball coach I've ever had and I feel as if I have developed as a player more over the past two years than at any other stage of my career. I think the biggest thing I have learned is the importance of being detail-oriented, and how over time that mindset combined with persistence and hard work is where results come from. It has been awesome to be part of the process of our team adopting this approach and growing as a group. I'm very excited to follow WashU baseball in the future. 

TM: I think what I have learned from Coach Bloom is that the little details and the process is extremely important. Accomplishing goals is important but it is about how you get there. I think that is something I will take with me beyond my experience at WashU because it applies to all aspects of life. 

What is your favorite baseball memory at WashU?

BB: My favorite baseball memory was playing in the St. Louis regional last year. We showed everyone across Division III that we're going to be nationally competitive year in, year out - doing things the right way. Though we ultimately lost to Whitewater, fighting every pitch through extra innings with all of my teammates who had given so much to the program was a really rewarding and special experience for all of us. 

JM: *looks into the future That's So Raven style* Winning the national championship. As far as things that have already happened, I'd probably say my favorite memory was Auggie Mense's double against Whitewater in the regional last year. Another awesome memory I'll take away will be the time I've spent scouting other teams with the coaches in Florida and at the regional.

BM: My favorite baseball memory is pitching a 1-hit shutout over Emory on my birthday and then proceeding to sweep them at home. 

TD: My favorite baseball memory is a tie between last year, when Christian hit a walk-off home run against Emory in Florida, and this year when we swept Emory in our home series. 

BH: My favorite memories at WashU include sweeping Emory, solving the bus mystery, rumbles, sheets, and teaching my special friend Max how to play catch. 

AD: My favorite baseball memory happened earlier this season, after we swept Emory in a four-game series at home. Emory has been our "rival" for baseball the four years I've been here, and at the time, they were ranked No. 10 in the nation. They were one of the hottest teams in the country at the time, and to be able beat them four times was just simply incredible. Every inning was a grind and it was arguably the most exhausting weekend of baseball I've had, but we pulled together as a team to beat a really good team and prove that we can compete with anyone. 

SN:  In my sophomore year, we were on the bubble but made playoffs as a lower seed. WashU baseball has never won Game 1 of playoffs, so we were going in with low expectations. After a great year, I was given the opportunity to pitch Game 1 against Concordia-Chicago. I ended up pitching a perfect game through seven innings and ended up with a complete game, two-hit shutout to get the 2-0 victory. It was the best game I have ever had, and got WashU baseball its first Game 1 victory.

CS: My favorite baseball memory is definitely the walk-off homer I hit against Emory last year. Easily the highlight of my career as a player (outside of winning the national championship this year, of course).

MC: My favorite WashU baseball memory was sweeping Emory in a 4-game series this season. That weekend I think as a team we played some of the best baseball I have ever been a part of, and it really set the tone for the rest of the season and showed us what we are capable of. I felt really proud to be part of it and the strength we showed as a team. 

TM:  My favorite baseball memory at WashU is getting up at 6 a.m. to lift four days a week in the fall. Nothing will replace seeing the sunrise as you run 300s with your best friends. On the field, my favorite memory is catching my best friends when they are dealing. Hitting a home run is pretty darn cool too.                                                                                                                               

What are your future plans upon graduating from WashU?

BB: Undecided.

JM: I plan on getting married around age 29 or so with 2 kids by 35 or something like that. A nice house with a yard and a really nice whiffle ball set. I'd like to die near a beach somewhere overlooking the ocean. Oh, next year? It's looking like I'll be working for MLB in New York City making silly baseball jokes as the Cespedes Family BBQ.

BM: This summer I will be back home as an Assistant Director for Hi-Five Sports Camp.  After that I will be looking for a more full-time job.

TD: This summer, I am staying here to do research in the engineering school. I am in the BSMS program at Wash U. so I will be here next year to get my Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering. I hope to go into the aerospace/defense industry after college.

BH: Retiring to a lake house adjacent to my special friend Max's. But before that, I will be in Saint Louis working for Maryville Technology as a tech consultant.

AD: I am coming back to Wash U for a masters degree in mechanical engineering as part of a 5th year program. I also will be working as an intern at a company here in St. Louis that does energy audits for commercial buildings, including some here on WashU's campus.

SN:   After graduation, I will be moving back to Chicago to do market research/consulting at Nielsen. 

CS: I plan on moving back to the west coast to look for career opportunities in real estate.

MC: After graduation, I have plans to begin working as a Junior Mechanical Engineer for CRB Consulting Engineers. I'm really excited to begin my career, learn as much as I can, and take advantage of the skills and experience that I've gained as a WashU student-athlete. 

TM: Upon graduation I will be working as a management consultant with Sense Corp here in St Louis. 

The WashU baseball team has a four-game series against University of Chicago this weekend beginning on Friday at 3 p.m. Saturday will feature a doubleheader while Sunday's 11 a.m. start will be preceded by a brief senior day celebration. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.