Bringing the heat: L-P sophomore is set for a dynamite season on the mound
Published 6:33 pm Monday, March 20, 2023
LYLE – Lyle-Pacelli sophomore Hunter VaDeer recently accomplished a feat that many high school pitchers chase, but never reach, and now he’s more focused than ever on his ultimate goal of playing college baseball.
VaDeer, who has been training for baseball in the Twin Cities for much of this past winter, finally broke 90 miles per hour with his fastball recently. He pushed that velocity up to 93 miles per hour on March 4.
Now VaDeer is building up dreams of following in the footsteps of L-P assistant coach Jordan Hart, who played Division II baseball at Minnesota State University in Mankato, and recent Hayfield grads Easton Fritcher, who plays at the University of Minnesota, and Nolan Klocke, who plays at Luther College.
Email newsletter signup
“It was really cool just facing Fritcher and now he’s at the U. Nolan just got his first win at Luther and that’s pretty cool to see,” VaDeer said. “(Playing in the cities) changed everything for me from a development standpoint. Working out has helped me as well as I’ve gotten stronger. It’s a long drive back and forth to the cities, but I think of those guys who played college baseball. That’s what I want to be.”
VaDeer had been playing with Northstar baseball, which is based out of Burnsville, for the past two summers. He played his 11U and 12U baseball with the Austin All-Stars and went on to play fall ball with the Rochester Pines when he was 12.
VaDeer worked this past offseason with MacStrength, which is based out of Edina and owned by Aaron McEachran. VaDeer travels there multiple times per week for pitching classes and practices and he will play with MacStrength this summer.
“They’ve helped me gain a lot of velocity and command this winter,” VaDeer said. “It was really cool to hit 90 for the first time. It was a Wednesday night and all of the guys were excited. I think going up there for the offseason has definitely helped me.”
The thought of driving to the metro three or four times a week was never on L-P head coach Brock Meyer’s mind when he was playing for Lyle in the late 90s, but now he finds himself driving his son Landon up to play on the same team as VaDeer. Meyer said offseason programs in baseball in the Midwest have grown vastly and it gives local players a chance to play at the next level.
“There was no winter baseball when I played. There was basketball. We just went from sport to sport,” Meyer said. “A lot of people wish they would’ve had that chance (to develop in the offseason). Hunter was still growing into his body, but he got the opportunity to try out one time. He made the team and his world changed. The facilities they have up there are great.”
Meyer has coached L-P for 13 years and he’s not sure if he’s ever coached against a player who throws 90. He knows he’s never had an L-P player hit 90.
“He’s always had a good slider and curveball and he’s got a good change up that’s around 81,” Meyer said of Hunter. “He’s throwing his change up faster than a lot of kids can throw their fastball. We’re not going to overthrow him and we want to make sure he’s healthy for the playoffs.”
VaDeer didn’t pitch a lot for the Athletics last spring as he was shaking off an injury. This spring he’s coming in healthy, which should give him much more control on the mound.
VaDeer is hoping to lead L-P to new heights as the Athletics have much of their team back from a squad that played in the Section 1A semifinals last spring. The Athletics are scheduled to open this season against Houston in Marcusen Park at 4:30 p.m. on April 6.
“I want to help my team; keep the runs low and keep the walks low,” VaDeer said. “I want to throw strikes and give my team a chance to win. We have a lot of experienced guys and we have a chance to go deep.”