Prep Baseball Report

Q&A with St. Louis University commit Luke Sommerfeld

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Director - Wisconsin/Illinois

Luke Sommerfeld (Brookfield Central, 2014) is one of the top ranked RHP in Wisconsin's 2014 class. Ranked No. 13 in the state, Sommerfeld recently committed to St. Louis University. The Billikens are coming off one of their best seasons in school history, winning 41 games and claiming the Atlantic 10 Championship.

Here's what Sommerfeld had to say about his recruiting journey coming from the Badger state.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Sommerfeld: As far as the recruiting process, I was hopeful that I would find a school that matched my academic goals as well as taking me to the next level athletically.

I found it to be a bit challenging for two reasons. First, playing high school summer baseball does not allow me to play on a select or traveling team so the exposure is a bit weak and I don’t have as many games under my belt. Secondly, when looking at schools out of the state selling myself as a ballplayer coming from Wisconsin (“up North”) is a tough sell.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Sommerfeld: From a college program I wanted a team that considered and treated their players as a family. I wanted a coaching staff that understood pitching and was willing to work with me to get stronger both physically and mentally.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Sommerfeld: Initially, I wanted to only look at schools that were south of the Wisconsin border. What I found though, is there are many schools in the Midwest that have great baseball programs in addition to great studies---both junior colleges and Division I,II & III.

I knew I definitely wanted the college experience living away from home and again, deal with less cold and snow.

PBR: Where did St. Louis University first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Sommerfeld: I was fortunate enough to latch onto a team, the St. Louis Sting for a game this fall. The coach, Mr. Earl Green dedicates himself as a mentor and facilitator of getting ballplayers exposure to play at the next level.  I had sent Coach Hendrickson of St. Louis University an email of my interest to play for him and a skills video. I also let him know of the outing with the Sting and he happened to be in the stands that night.

PBR: What do you like most about St. Louis University and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Sommerfeld: I like the fact that St. Louis University has an urban environment. Academically, the school is strong and has the tools to help me succeed as student athlete. The baseball program is on the rise and Coach Hendrickson is a great coach. He not only is a scholar of the game, but he enthusiastically can teach and motivate. SLU fit my bill for going to a school a bit south. Playing in March hopefully won’t be so painfully cold.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Sommerfeld: Other schools on my short list were: Air Force, Florida Gulf Coast, Central Michigan, Illinois State, Indiana, Maryville and Madison College.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Sommerfeld: That’s a tough one. It’s a tie between Nick Kanavas (2013) from Brookfield East and Zack Henderson (2014) from Greendale.

Nick because he is a true competitor and can beat you both with his bat and his glove. Zack….I’ve been lucky enough to both be a teammate with him and an opponent. He has great plate discipline and quick bat speed. One mistake from anyone and he’ll make you pay. As a teammate, he brings energy in the dugout, but always a true contender.  I see really great things from him at Missouri.

PBR: What has been the lowest point in your baseball career; what have you learned from it and how has it helped you grow as a player?

Sommerfeld: The lowest point in my baseball career had to be last year when our team lost to Brookfield East 2-1 in the regional finals. It was a tight game up until the 6th inning. A controversial call went against us and it ended up being the winning run. It always hurts a bit more when it’s your cross town rival. Things like this help me grow as a player because in the end….it’s just a game. You have to respect the game and realize sometimes things don’t go in your favor. As long as you do your best and give 100%, you can hold your head high even when it’s after a loss.

PBR: At what point in your career did you become serious about taking your game to the next level?

Sommerfeld: Those that know me, know that I’m an extremely competitive person. I became super serious about playing at the next level my junior year in high school. My older brother, Peter left to play college baseball at Madison College and I listened to his training regimen and what it really takes to be a college student athlete. I set goals for myself and continue to work on my game.  

PBR: What is your best attribute as a baseball player and how does that transfer onto the field for your team?

Sommerfeld: Without a doubt I think my competitiveness is my strongest attribute as a player. I strive to win every game and bring a winning attitude to the bench.

PBR: What part of your game needs the biggest improvement, why, and what will you do to improve it?

Sommerfeld: The biggest improvement I need to my game is my mental toughness. I have to control my emotions on the mound and not worry about things I have no control over. I have to learn to let go if mistakes happen and keep my composure. Also, I need to continue to learn how to pitch to the lineup--be cognizant of a hitter’s last at bat or what an opponent’s strength is.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Sommerfeld: Set goals for yourself and chase your dreams.
Set goals for each game, goals for the high school season, and goals for the future.
Get as much exposure as possible. Play as often as you can.
Work just as hard in school as you do on the field.
Don’t be afraid to fail.  

PBR: What do you do in the offseason to keep yourself in baseball shape and prepare for the upcoming season?

Sommerfeld: During the offseason I participate in high school volleyball. I also play basketball through Brookfield’s Park and Recreation Department. I like to be active and think the cross training helps different groups of muscles. As for baseball, I workout with Hitters Baseball Academy twice a week beginning in November. We focus on hitting and core strength. This year I am planning on doing a velocity program to both develop and strengthen my shoulder and arm strength.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Sommerfeld: This summer I played a tournament at Northern Illinois University with the Wisconsin Wildcats. Our team played well all tournament but came up short in the championship. During the last game of pool play I hit a monster homerun over the leftfield wall at least 420 ft. I’ve hit other home runs before, but this one I knew was gone right off the bat.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Sommerfeld: The recruiting process really started to heat up for me the fall of my senior year.

First I participated in the Perfect Game Showcase in Cedar Rapids, IA in mid-April. My velocity started to rise at the end of the summer and continued into the fall.

At the end of the summer I took part in Hitters Midwest Showcase. This was an exceptional opportunity for me because I both pitched and hit really well. From that showcase alone I had three schools contact me within the next week.

In fall, Hitters Baseball Academy out of Racine, WI allowed me to play fall ball on Sundays only due to the fact I also play high school volleyball. Here too, the competition was good and I continued to blossom as a pitcher.

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?

Sommerfeld: Brookfield Central’s team this year should be pretty solid top to bottom both in pitching and hitting. The 2014 class is really strong---myself, Elijah Goodman, Matt Ausloos, and Riley Richarz. The Greater Metro Conference is always solid with Marquette, Menomonee Falls, and Oak Creek. I feel the caliber of our team is tough and we could make a run to the state tournament this summer. Personally, my goals are to have a winning record pitching this season and a low ERA.

CLICK HERE for the complete list of college commitments.

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