Johansmeier prepares for final season at EIU.


Jason Howell

Senior pitcher Jake Johansmeier

Maria Baldwin, Assistant Sports Editor

Senior pitcher Jake Johansmeier is ready for Eastern baseball to have a winning season.

The Panthers may have recorded a 13-36 overall record last season, but Johansmeier believes the team is more prepared this year than in years past.

‘’It’s my last year, so I want to go out with a bang,’’ Johansmeier said. ‘’I want to form into a role that gels with everyone this year. In years past, it has been rigid, everyone has been like this is my job and there’s been gaps, so this year my biggest challenge is not only getting everyone to gel together, so that there isn’t any gaps, and I just want to be more flexible.’’

Despite the past, Johansmeier has had a notable career at Eastern.

He has a 5.71 total career ERA, including 107 career strikeouts. On the offensive side, Johansmeier has a batting average of .320. In 2013 he was named to the All-OVC Newcomer team, and as a junior, his first win of the season was against Belmont where he pitched seven innings with one earned run and three strikeouts. His longest pitching outing was against UT Martin where he pitched nine innings, only allowing one run. During his sophomore year, Johansmeier recorded 42 total strikeouts in 72.2 innings of action. As a freshman Johansmeier threw 33 strikeouts, 21 of which were in conference play.

‘’This year we are more prepared then we were in years past,’’ Johansmeier said. ‘’I also think we have more talent this year and people are already showcasing their abilities and it’s just a better feel day in and day out, everyone’s coming in and giving one hundred percent and it is going to pay off for us.’’

Eastern brought in 10 freshmen to play this year, including four pitchers. 

Johansmeier credits the newcomers to being the reason behind his success in the off-season, whereby teaching them new skills, he can learn a thing or two as well.

‘’Getting back to where I can feel all of my pitches and throw them where I want to is what I work on the most, but also, I like to help some of the younger guys take that next step in their game.’’ Johansmeier said. ‘’Kind of teaching, but still learning the game through them.’’

Because of his role as a mentor to the younger players, Johansmeier credits his role with his vocal presence on the diamond.

‘’Everyone is a leader on our team in some way.’’ Johansmeier said. ‘’I would say I am the most vocal, in good and bad ways, I would say I am the yeller. I don’t like when people mess around. There’s a time for fun and a time for work and when it’s time for work, we need to work.’’

Johansmeier said he looks forward to all the games this season because of the talent Eastern possesses this year, although it is bittersweet for him, he’s ready for some success.

This Friday, the Panthers will open their season at Southern Mississippi, the same location Eastern opened their season at when Johansmeier and his fellow senior teammates were freshmen.

‘’The original senior class is so small, we are down to three true seniors’’ Johansmeier said. ‘’The first time we ever stepped on the field together was at Southern Miss, so the team and I are definitely looking forward to that game. It’ll be bittersweet.’’

Johansmeier has played the pitching position since he was five years old, and it’s the fun and high-stress aspect of the game that has kept him playing so long, he said.

‘’As a pitcher, you just get to have more fun.’’ Johansmeier said. ‘’It’s also part of the experience. When we aren’t playing, we are messing around here and there, but it’s really high stress and high pressure. You kind of control the game, but then when you’re not playing it’s the fun part, it reminds you this is why I play.’’

Eastern Illinois baseball hits the road on the Friday for a three-game series at Southern Mississippi.


Maria Baldwin can be reached at581-2812 or at [email protected]