DEKALB — Kyle Seebach entered the first offseason of his college baseball career seeking to get stronger and add more velocity to his fastball. Although Seebach threw sparingly for the Northern Illinois University program last year, the former Rochelle pitching standout saw his role with the Huskies increase dramatically over the course of his sophomore season this year.
After logging only five relief appearance as a freshman, Seebach threw in 25 games for NIU this season, totaling 36 strikeouts in 34 and two-thirds innings. He recorded his first career save with three scoreless innings against Miami (Ohio) on April 27, and he picked up his first career victory when NIU topped Ball State on May 5. Seebach finished 2-3 with a 4.93 ERA this year.
“I made some mechanical adjustments which helped me throw more strikes and gain more confidence,” Seebach said. “I threw the ball well early in the season and I was able to gain more opportunities throughout the season. I gained more fastball velocity this year. It sat around 87-to-89 miles per hour, and I touched the 90s a few times which was great. I gained strength in my legs and my upper body, and that strength helped with my performance this year.”
Seebach cruised through February and March, allowing only two runs through his first 10 and two-thirds innings with 12 strikeouts and only four walks. The 6-foot-8 left-hander will likely see his role continue to expand as he enters his junior and senior seasons. During that time, he said he wants to keep adding fastball velocity while improving command of his changeup.
“I’m still learning a lot about pitching and I have a few more things to clean up with my mechanics,” Seebach said. “I’d like to sit in the low 90s with my fastball by next year, and I want to work on my changeup. It has good movement, but I’d like to control it more and gain more confidence with it.”
Seebach compiled four-strikeout appearances against Western Michigan and Kent State during the regular season before adding another four-strikeout performance against Ball State in the MAC Conference Tournament. After throwing for the Crystal Lake Cardinals of the Chicago Suburban Baseball League last summer, Seebach is playing for the Rockford Rivets of the Northwoods League this summer.
“It’s a great opportunity to play for the Rivets this summer,” Seebach said. “It’s a great time to fix my mechanics and continue working on my pitches. Some of those are things you can’t do during the regular season because you’re focusing on winning games. I’m still trying to win this summer, but I’m more free to work on things I need to get better.”
When Seebach takes the field next year, he’ll be reunited with former Rochelle teammate Brandon Johnson, a two-time All-Conference honoree who signed with the Huskies earlier this year. Seebach and Johnson played on the varsity team during the 2016-17 season, when Seebach earned All-Conference recognition.
“I’m excited to play with Brandon and I know he has some juice from the left side,” Seebach said. “It’s going to be fun having another local guy on the team.”