After wrapping up a successful season on the mound this past spring for Gustavus Adolphus College, 2017 Princeton High School Graduate Damon Rademacher found himself in rarified air as the program’s all-time save leader with the senior sitting currently seven.
Along with setting the school’s save record, Rademacher pitched to a 7-0 record and a sub-two earned run average at 1.74 for the season that saw the Princeton product be named to the All-MIAC Conference Team.
However, without his time playing for the Tigers’ at Solheim Field in Mark Park, he may not have found the success he has had so far into his college career.
Playing under Jordan Neubauer, current Princeton Varsity Head Coach, was one of the biggest things that helped Rademacher find success at the college level according to the standout reliever. “I really think that having Jordan Neubauer as a coach helped me the most in the college baseball aspect. He would always hound us on doing everything the right way every time, even if it was something small like getting foul balls. At the time I thought it was dumb, but the lesson stuck with me and I carried it to college. It really showed the coaches how much you care as a player when you try to do everything the right way,” said Rademacher.
“It’s good to hear that it didn’t fall on deaf ears,” said Neubauer.
Dating back to his days playing for Princeton, Rademacher was always able to throw a baseball at high level remembered Neubauer. “He was an elite thrower of the ball.”
Having the strong arm saw Rademacher play a variety of positions for the Tigers. “He was a very versatile player, we could put him at short, we could put him at catcher, we could pitch him, we could play him at third. He was fairly comfortable in a lot of different situations,” said Neubauer.
Translating that versatility and comfortability in changing situations has helped Rademacher in high leverage situations as a closer believes Neubauer. “A lot of colleges recruit guys that were shortstops or guys that can handle different situations and traditionally not frightened of the moment and that’s one thing Damon has always been able to do.
“If he’s going to go down, he’s going to go down aggressively and he’s going to go down swinging and go down with a confident approach and I think that is one thing that helps him in that closer role. He is not necessarily afraid of failure and he’s not afraid of the moment. He just embraces the pressure. Some people it cripples but I think with Damon, he just rises to that occasion,” Neubauer continued.
Added to that tough mentality of a reliever was a college course at Gustavus that helped Rademacher even further with his approach on the mound. “It was basically just a life class but based on how you intemperate the information it could also be a sports psychology class. The professor taught us to live in the present, moment by moment rather than dwell on the past or look too far into the future, along with keeping a level head,” said Rademacher as he incorporated that into his mindset while he would toe the rubber.
Continuing strong season
Though Gustavus’ season came to an end in the MIAC Playoffs, Rademacher is able to continue to build off of his strong season as the Gustie was able to pitch for the Princeton Panthers this year compiling an ERA of 0.00 in his five appearances this year with 18 strikeouts in just nine innings along with two saves.
Finding the success in the Eastern Minny League, Rademacher will now depart from the Panthers’ team and join the Northwoods League to pitch for the Willmar Stingers.
On the Horizon
Even with being a senior, Rademacher will be given the chance to pitch another season for Gustavus.
With COVID-19 leading to the cancelation of last year’s NCAA baseball season, Rademacher was presented with the chance to return to pitch for the Gusties.
Rademacher fully intends to take advantage of that opportunity. “As of now I plan on coming back for one more year of baseball,” said Rademacher.