The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hawkeye baseball finds a voice

Peter Kim
Iowa right handed pitcher Tyler Radtke talks to the media at Richard O. Jacobson Athletic Building on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (The Daily Iowan/Peter Kim)

The players on the Iowa baseball team know it won’t be easy to replace a clubhouse leader such as Jake Mangler.

After all, the 2015 graduate started every game at second base last season and hit in the two-hole spot in 53 of 59 games. Off the field, he was the vocal leader for a team that had its best season in 25 years.

With Mangler gone, the Hawks needed a new leader — someone to step up and become the new voice of the team.

That’s when Tyler Radtke stepped in.

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The senior from Buffalo Grove, Illinois, immediately recognized the need for leadership, and he was more than ready to take on responsibility. Radtke, now a two-time team captain, knew that if this season is going to rival last year’s success, a voice similar to Mangler’s was vital.

“It’s tough to follow Jake Mangler … he was such a great captain and taught me a lot about how to handle every situation,” Radtke said. “But when he left it was like, ‘Wow, Jake’s really gone.’ Someone has to take over.”

Hawkeye head coach Rick Heller has watched the 6-4 right-handed pitcher grow up before his eyes in the two seasons he’s been with the team.

Now, in Radtke’s third year, Heller knows that he is more than ready to take the reins.

“Last year was a big learning experience for Tyler,” Heller said. “He’s the only returning captain from last season, and he’s matured so much. He really ran with this role.”

Radtke appreciates the faith that the coaches have put in him over the course of his career as a Hawkeye. However, being named as a captain two years running isn’t up to the coaches — it’s up to his teammates.

“It’s great knowing that my coaches trust me,” he said. “But it’s even more of an honor to be elected captain by my teammates and to see the faith they have in my to lead the group.”

For fellow captain Nick Roscetti, the leadership role is something he’s grateful for. The shortstop from Sherman, Illinois, was a third-team All-Big Ten selection in 2015, so he’s more than qualified.

Roscetti says that he and Radtke, along with the other two captains, Jimmy Frankos and Calvin Mathews, love their roles. He also believes that any one of the players could step up at any time.

“Everyone on this team could be a leader,” Roscetti said at the team’s media day. “Just knowing that really helps the designated captains do their job right.”

Radtke echoed that belief but also remembered the fall. Something was missing — that one motivating voice pushing the team forward.

Now, as the team prepares for its first series of the 2016 season this weekend against Dallas Baptist, that voice is present: Radtke’s.

“We have a great group of guys, but we didn’t really have one that could give everyone a pat on the back and push everyone to get better,” he said. “I just did what I had to do.”


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