When the Kishwaukee College baseball team needed a pitcher to induce ground balls and escape innings unscathed, the Kougars often relied on former Rochelle Township High School player Blake Albers to keep them in the game.
After signing with Kishwaukee College this past year, Albers completed his freshman season with the Kougars in the spring. The 6-foot-6-inch, 220-pound left-hander appeared in seven games for Kishwaukee College, throwing 12.2 innings and striking out seven batters with only four walks allowed. Despite primarily pitching as a reliever, Albers earned one start for the Kougars, and he said he wants to work his way into the starting rotation next season.
“The baseball program has been great and the team is full of excitement,” Albers said. “We struggled this past season, but we’re pushed to be the best we can be. My coach told me that I had an effective role on the team this season. I was the pitcher who came in and forced the other team to hit ground balls. I was more of a reliever this year, but hopefully I can make it onto the starting rotation.”
Albers didn’t receive many opportunities to hit this past season, logging only four at-bats with one walk and one strikeout for the Kougars, who went 6-32-1 and 4-14 in conference play. While the team struggled to record victories, Albers said he had several positive experiences throughout the year including the team’s spring trip to St. Petersburg, Florida.
“Going to St. Petersburg was easily one of the best parts of the year,” Albers said. “We had time to get to know each other better and build some chemistry. We played baseball and we had plenty of free time to relax and enjoy ourselves. We did karaoke, we played volleyball and we had so many other activities to do while we were there.”
As Albers prepares for his sophomore season with the Kougars, he said he wants to develop more consistency with his off-speed pitches. He also said he wants to create more snap off his breaking pitches, and he wants to use his large frame to create more deception on the mound.
“I think I did well at forcing batters to put the ball in play,” Albers said. “I have never been the most overpowering pitcher, so I force hitters to hit the ball on the ground. I would like to be more consistent with my pitches and get better snap off my breaking pitches.”