Timber Rattlers Pitcher Austin Blaski Feeling at Home at Fox Cities Stadium

Published 05/01 2013 06:45PM

Updated 05/01 2013 06:49PM

Austin Blaski looked comfortable in his first professional start for the Timber Rattlers Sunday, and for good reason.

He's very familiar with Fox Cities Stadium, having pitched on that mound multiple times in the past.

"The Division 3 World Series, we were here two years in a row," Blaski said.  "That was my last start in college, and we won it.  That was a great experience and great to be playing back here in Appleton."

In 2011 Blaski was the Tournament MVP leading the Marietta College baseball team to the NCAA D-III National Championship.  As a senior he was named NCAA D-III College Pitcher of the Year as his team brought home its second consecutive title in Grand Chute, home of the tournament.

Then the right-handed hurler was drafted in the 21st round by the Milwaukee Brewers which meant his baseball journey would once again go through the Fox Valley.

"It was just one of those things, your dream comes true," Blaski said of being drafted. "You finally get the chance to play pro ball, what every kid dreams of."

Blaski now has the chance to achieve something truly special.  Coming off winning back-to-back national championships in college, he can now help Wisconsin attempt to win its second straight Midwest League Championship.

 "It's fun," said Blaski who is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in 6 appearances (1 start) this year. "Everyone wants to beat the champion, and I've experienced it last year.   It's great; you get the best shot from everyone.  That's what you want, to compete every day."

After beginning in the bullpen, Blaski got the start Sunday after Bret Suter was called up to Brevard County.

"He's a very intriguing guy," said Manager Matt Erickson who admits he didn't know much about Blaski coming into the season.  "Ever since Spring Training he's been very solid, very consistent.  There's a little funkiness to his delivery, and he has a little life on his fastball.  He has some deception and he attacks the zone."

Erickson says Blaski will get some more starts after previously being used out of the bullpen.  That's a nice thing for planning purposes for the Ohio native whose family likes to travel to see him pitch. 

"Three (years) in a row," Blaski said when asked about his family traveling to the Appleton area. 

"They should get a house down here or something."

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